An Explanation of the Aqeedah of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah
Author: Imaam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal
Source: Manaaqib al-Imaam Ahmad ibn Hanbal pp.167-171 of Ibn al-Jawzee
At the time of the Fitnah (trial and tribulations) of Qadr , Rafd, Ei’tizaal (Mutazilites), Irjaa (whether Eemaan does not increase or decrease) and Khalq al-Qur’aan (the Creation of the Qur’aan), Imaam Abul-Hasan Musadad ibn Masahid ibn Masarbil Asadee Basree (d. 228H) wrote to Ahmad ibn Hanbal to write concerning the issues from the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allaah (صلى الله علیه وسلم) and to send it to him. When this letter reached the Imaam he said whilst weeping:
To Allaah we belong and to him is our return, This Basree has spent enough wealth acquiring knowledge, yet the condition of his knowledge is that he could not acquire the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allaah (صلى الله علیه وسلم) regarding these issues.”
Then he wrote this Answer:
All praise is for Allaah who preserved the People of Knowledge  of every time who gave Da’wah of guidance to the misguided and stopped the destruction. They made the dead, living by the Book of Allaah and saved them via the Sunnah of Messenger of Allaah (صلى الله علیه وسلم). How many of them have they given life to, who the Shayaateen had killed, how many misguided have they guided. The result of their striving was a good favour on the Muslims. These people removed the Tahreef (distortion) of the Ghaalayn (Exaggerators) and the Ihtiaal of the Mubtalyn who were indulged in innovations and made Fitnah’s open and general and they made divisions after divisions upon the Book of Allaah. They placed Buhtaan’s (Great lies) on Allaah and raised numerous doubts concerning him. They talked about the Book of Allaah without knowledge. We seek refuge in Allaah from these misguided sects. May Allaah send salutations and Mercy upon his Prophet (صلى الله علیه وسلم).
May Allaah give us all the ability to achieve his pleasure and protect us from his punishment and that he takes us on the path of those who fear him and who have knowledge about him.
I advise you and myself of Taqwaa, the Sunnah of Rasoolullah  and the obligation of the Jamaa’atul-Muslimeem  (Believers). We know a bad destination of those who oppose it and a good destination of those who act accordingly. This saying of Muhammad (Saas) has reached us, “Allaah enters his slave into Paradise for acting on one Sunnah strictly.”
I command you people, do not give anything precedence over the Qur’aan. The Qur’aan is the Kalaam (Speech) of Allaah and the means by which Allaah made his Speech is not created and whatever is the Lauh al-Mahfooz (Preserved Tablet) is also uncreated. Whoever says it is created is a disbeliever and whoever does not declare them disbeliever’s, is also a disbeliever (After the proof is established).
After the Book of Allaah, the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allaah (Saas), Prophetic Ahadeeth and the saying of the companions and Taab’ieen have the next status. Salvation is in the following  (Ittibaa) and affirmation of the statements of the Anbiyaa and Rusul. These points have been continuously mentioned by the higher stature of the people of knowledge.
Beware of the ideas of Jahm Ibn Safwaan . The sect of the Jahmiyyah according to our Scholars they are divided into three groups :-
- One group says the Qur’aan is the speech of Allaah and it is created.
- The second group says the Qur’aan is the speech of Allaah, and then remains silent whether it is created or uncreated. They are the Waaqafiyyah.
- The Third group says their words of recitation of the Qur’aan are created.
Then all of them are the Jahmiyyah and the Scholars are agreed that whoever says this and if does not repent from these sayings, then the slaughtered of his hand will not be Halaal and his decisions are not worthy of acceptance.
Eemaan is compromised of speech and action and there is increase and decrease in it.  If you do righteous actions there will be an increase in Eemaan and if you do bad actions there will be decrease. Is it possible that a man has no Eemaan yet he still remains within Islaam, if he repents he will enter into Eemaan and nothing takes one out of Islaam except Shirk or he rejects one of the obligations of Allaah, then he is a disbeliever. If he abandons an action due to laziness then this condition of his is with Allaah whether he punishes him or whether he forgives him.
Regarding the Mu’tazilah, our Scholars are agreed that they are in favour of performing Takfeer (declaring Muslims to be disbelievers) on the account of sins. Hence whosoever from amongst the Mu’tazilah is upon this, believes that Aadam (عليه السلام) by committing a sin also committed Kufr and when the brothers of Yusuf (عليه السلام) lied to their father, they also committed Kufr. The Mu’tazilah are agreed on this Aqeedah that if one was to steal then he is from the people of Hellfire, his wife will have to leave him. If he has performed Hajj previously he needs to repeat it. The one who says such things has indulged in Kufr. The ruling concerning them is that they are not given Salaam or spoken to, nor is their food to be eaten that they slaughter up until they repent from their Aqeedah.
Concerning the Rawaafid, our Scholars are agreed, it is their Aqeedah that Alee (رضي الله عنه) is more virtuous than Abu Bakr and Umar (رضي الله عنهما) and the Islaam of Alee (رضي الله عنه) was before the Islaam of Abu Bakr (رضي الله عنه). The individual who is in favour of this has openly refuted the Book and the Sunnah. Allaah says,
“Muhammadur Rasoolullaah and those who believe are with him…”
In this Ayah Allaah has preferred Abu Bakr (رضي الله عنه) after Muhammad [saw][saw], not Alee (رضي الله عنه). The Messenger of Allaah (صلى الله علیه وسلم) said,
“If I was to take a friend, I would take Abu Bakr but Allaah has made me his friend.”
Whoever understands that the Islaam of Alee (رضي الله عنه) was before the Islaam of Abu Bakr (رضي الله عنه), he is upon error and mistake because he (Abu Bakr) accepted Islaam when he was 35 and at that age Alee was a child of 7 years. The Islamic rulings, Sharee’ah punishments and religious obligations were not effective on him.
It is necessary for the Muslim to have Eemaan in the Good and Bad of Qadaa and Qadar and hold the belief that every acceptable and non-acceptable points of Qadaa and Qadar are from Allaah. Allaah created the Heavens before he created the creation and he did Tahleeq of those who are worthy of it. Its blessings are continuous. Whosoever thought that parts of Paradise are wasted is a disbeliever similarly Allaah created Hell and its inheritors. Its punishment is continuous. People will come out of Hell due to the intercession of Messenger of Allaah (صلى الله علیه وسلم). The belief should be held of the Seeing of Allaah, the speaking of Allaah to Moosaa and that He (Allaah) made Ibraaheem (عليه السلام) his friend.
The Meezaan (Scale) is true, the Siraat (Bridge) is true, the Prophets are true, Eesaa (عليه السلام) is the slave and Messenger of Allaah. One should have Eemaan in the Hawd (Pool), Shifaa’ah (Intercession), Arsh (Throne), Kursee (Footstool) and Eemaan in that Maalik al-Maut removes the soul and it is returned to the bodies and they are questioned about Eemaan, Tawheed and the Messenger. To have Eemaan in the Soor (Trumpet) which Israafeel will blow. Also to have Eemaan that the grave, in Madeenah, is the grave of Messenger of Allaah (صلى الله علیه وسلم) and Abu Bakr and Umar (رضي الله عنهما). To have Eemaan in the fact that the heart of the believer is between the two fingers of Allaah. Dajjaal will descend in the Ummah of Muhammad and Eesaa (عليه السلام) will come at Ludd and kill him. The Scholars of Ahlus-Sunnah, whichever point they reject, they are the rejecters. Beware of Innovations.
There is no one more virtuous than Abu Bakr (رضي الله عنه) after Muhammad (صلى الله علیه وسلم) in this Ummah, after him there is no one more virtuous than Umar (رضي الله عنه) and after Umar there is no one more virtuous than Uthmaan (رضي الله عنه). This is our saying about the Three Khulafaa and we are silent about Alee (رضي الله عنه). The narrations of Abdullah Ibn Umar concerning their excellence and preference are authentic. All Four Khulafaa are Rashideen Mahdiyeen. We testify about the 10, that they are from the people of Paradise, their names are :-
- Abu Bakr
- Abdur-Rahmaan ibn Auf
- Abu Ubaidah ibn al-Jarraah (radiAllaahu ‘anhum ajma’een)
The people the Messenger of Allaah gave tidings of Paradise to, then we also affirm them being from the People of Paradise.
According to us performing Raf ul-Yadain (raising the hands) and saying Ameen loudly is a means to increasing in the good. Supplications of righteousness, firmness and rectification should be made for the rulers. The sword should not be raised against them and war is not fought against them in issues of differing, nor should anyone be forced to say so and so is from the people of paradise. However this can be said about the Asharah Mubasharah, (the ten promised paradise) about whom the Messenger of Allaah (صلى الله علیه وسلم) gave the glad tidings of paradise.
Only mention the attributes of Allaah that he mentioned for himself and negate everything he negated for himself. Beware from debating with the people of desires. Withhold from mentioning the errors of the companions of the Messenger of Allaah (صلى الله علیه وسلم) and mention their virtues and remain silent about their mutual differences. Do not seek advice from the people of innovation concerning the religious affairs, nor travel with them. And for the permissible ni’kah (wedlock) there has to be a Walee (guardian), listeners of the khutbah and two trustworthy witnesses. Mu’tah (temporary marriage) is haraam (unlawful) up until the Day of Judgement. Pray behind every righteous person – even the sinful individual. Pray the funeral prayer of every individual who is from the people of the Qiblah because his affair is with Allaah. Obey every Imaam and Ameer. Participate in Jihaad and Hajj.
The takbeers of the funeral prayer are four, and if the Imaam says five then you also say five takbeers, like Alee (رضي الله عنه). It is the saying of Abdullah Ibn Mas’ood to say the same amount of takbeers as the Imaam, but Shaafi’ee has differed with me in this. He says that if the Imaam says more than four takbeers then he should supplement the prayer and he has presented to me a hadeeth with its chain, of the Messenger of Allaah (صلى الله علیه وسلم) in which he said four takbeers in the funeral prayer.
The wiping over the khuffains is three days and nights and one day and night for the resident. The supererogatory prayer is two units. There is no prayer before the Eed Prayer. Pray two units before sitting down in whatever mosque you enter. The witr is one unit. Saying the Iqaamah is necessary.
I consider the people of Ahlus-Sunnah much better then Ahlul-Ahwaa (the people of desires) whatever their defects. May Allaah give you and us death upon Islaam and the Sunnah and may he give us its knowledge.
When Shaikh ul-Islaam Harawee was exiled he left all his books but he took this treatise with him. It is the saying of Ibn Mandah – (رحمه الله) – said,
“Whoever read this advice and acted upon it is worthy of the verse upon him, Inna Abdee Laisa Laka Alayhim Sultaan.”
And he would often recite this khutbah in the start of his sermons. Haafidh Ibn Qayyim would often begin most of his books with it.
 Abdullah Ibn Mubaarak – (رحمه الله) – said,
“The root of the seventy Two innovated sects are four sects, and from these four sects the seventy two sects spread. (The four being) The Qadariyyah, the Murji’ah, the Shee’ah and the Khawaarij.” [Reported by Ibn Battah in Ibaanatul-Kubraa (no. 278)]
 Imaam al-Awzaa’ee – (رحمه الله) – said,
“Knowledge is what comes from the Companions of Muhammad (صلى الله علیه وسلم) and that which does not come from a single one of them is not knowledge.” [Jaami Bayaan al-Ilm (2/36)]
 Abu Hurairah (رضي الله عنه) said that Allaah’s Messenger (صلى الله علیه وسلم) said,
“All of my Ummah will enter Paradise except those who refuse.” It was said “Who will refuse.” He replied “Whoever obeys me will enter paradise and whoever disobeys me has refused.” [Bukhaaree (9/284) Eng trans.]
 Umar (رضي الله عنه) reports that the Prophet (صلى الله علیه وسلم) said,
“Stick to the Jamaa’ah and beware of splitting for Shaytaan is found along with the single person but he is further from the two…” [Ahmad (1/18), Tirmidhee (no. 2165) and Haakim (1/114)]
”He who splits away from the Jamaa’ah by a hand span and then dies, dies a death of Jaahiliyyah.” [Bukhaaree (9/145) Eng trans.]
Abu Shammah (d.665H) – (رحمه الله) – said,
“…since the truth is that which the first Jamaah from the time of the Prophet and his companions were upon. No attention is given to the great number of people of futility coming after them.” [Al-Baa’ith Alal Bid’ah wal Hawaadith (p .19)]
 Abdullah Ibn Mubaarak (d.181H) – (رحمه الله) – said,
“I found that the affair was Ittibaa (Following and submitting to the narrations).” [Sharh Usool I’tiqaad (no. 113)]
Ibn Mas’ood (رضي الله عنه) said,
“Follow and do not Innovate, for you have been given that which is sufficient and every innovation is misguidance.” [Kitaab al-Ilm of Abu Khaithamah (no. 54)]
Shaadh Ibn Yahyaa said,
“There is no path which is more straight and direct to Paradise than the path of the one who travels upon the Aathaar (narrations).” [Sharh Usool I’tiqaad (no. 112)]
 Jahm Ibn Safwaan, the student of Ja’d ibn Dirham, both were executed for apostasy in the time of the lesser Taab’ieen. They deny the Sifaat (attributes of Allaah and declare the Qur’aan to be created.
 Abdur Razzaaq as-San’aanee – (رحمه الله) – said,
“I met Sixty Two (62) Shaikh’s, amongst them were: Mamar, al-Awzaa’ee, ath-Thawree, al-Waleed ibn Muhammad al-Qurashee, Yazeed ibn as-Saa’sib, Hammaad ibn Salamah, Hammaad ibn Zaid, Sufyaan ibn Uyainah, Shu’ayb ibn Harb, Wakee ibn al-Jarrah, Maalik ibn Anas, Ibn Abee Laylaa, Ismaa’eel ibn Ayyaash, al-Waleed ibn Muslim and those who I have not named, all of them saying, “Eemaan consists of Speech and action, it increases and decreases.” [Sharh Usool-I’tiqaad Ahlus-Sunnah (5/958)]
Imaam Ibn Khuzaimah – (رحمه الله) – says,
“I swear by Allaah I asked countless Scholars and Jurists in Iraaq and in other cities concerning Eemaan, all of them said “Eemaan is speech and action, it increases and decreases.” [Kitaab at-Tawheed p.9]