The Sunna as Evidence
The Probativeness of the Sunna
(Hujjiyya al-Sunna)
by Dr. G.F. Haddad ©


[12] The Probativeness of the Sunna


4. PROOFS FROM THE NOBLE SUNNA FOR THE PROBATIVENESS OF THE SUNNA

7. Whoever disobeys him and rejects his sayings, preferring to follow his own opinion and whims, has disobeyed Allah, followed misguidance, and perished, such being deserving of hellfire and Allah's curse - may Allah -- Almighty and Exalted -- protect us

Angels came to the Prophet while he was sleeping.
One of them said: "He is sleeping."
Another said: "Truly the eye sleeps while the heart is wide awake."
Then they said: "Truly there is a similitude for your friend here. Strike a similitude for him."
One of them said: "He is sleeping."
Another said: "Truly the eye sleeps while the heart is wide awake."
Then they said: "His similitude is that of a man who built a house then gave a banquet, sending a herald [to invite the people]. Whoever responded to the herald entered the house and partook of the banquet, and whoever did not respond to the herald neither entered the house nor ate of the banquet."
Then the angels said: "Interpret this parable for him so that he may understand it well."
One of them said: "He is sleeping."
Another said: "Truly the eye sleeps while the heart is wide awake."
Then they said: "The house stands for Paradise and the herald is Muhammad . Whoever obeys Muhammad, obeys Allah; whoever disobeys Muhammad, disobeys Allah. Muhammad is the separator between the people (farqun bayn al-nas)."1

The Prophet said: "Whoever marches against Allah's rule(r) on earth (sultan Allah fi al-ard) in order to abase it - then Allah shall certainly abase his neck on the Day of Resurrection, in addition to the punishment that lies in wait for him." Musaddad added: "Allah's rule(r) on earth is the Qur'an and Sunna."2 Another version states: "Whoever denigrates Allah's ruler on earth (sultan Allah fi al-ard), then may Allah denigrate him!"3

The Prophet was reported to say:
"Whoever hears of a hadith of mine then belies it, has belied Allah, His Prophet, and the one who brought him that hadith."4

The Prophet also said: "I was ordered to fight people until they say `There is no God but Allah' believing in me and in what I brought. Once they do, they have made their lives and properties untouchable by me except for the right due upon them, and their reckoning is with Allah."5

8. Faith and belief remains incomplete until one follows all that he brought

The Prophet said: "None of you believes until his likes and dislikes be in conformity with what I have brought."6 Al-Nawawi said this hadith corresponded to the verse (And it becomes not a believing man or a believing woman, when Allah and His messenger have decided and affair (for them), that they should (after that) claim any say in their affair; and whoso is rebellious to Allah and His messenger, he verily goes astray in error manifest) (33:36), adding: "One is obligated to evaluate his every deed in the light of the Qur'an and the Sunna, contravening his likes and dislikes and following what the Prophet brought."7 Ibn Kathir cited this hadith8 in elucidation of the same verse in addition to two more: (But nay, by your Lord! they will not believe (in truth) until they make you judge of what is in dispute between them and find within themselves no dislike of that which you decide, and submit with full submission) (4:65) and (And let those who conspire to evade orders beware lest grief or painful punishment befall them) (24:63).

Anas ibn Malik narrates: "The Prophet said to me: 'My little son! If you are able to rise in the morning and retire at night without the least spite in your heart for anyone, then do so.' Then he said: 'My little son! That is part of my Sunna, and whoever gives life to my Sunna, he truly loves me: and whoever truly loves me shall be together with me in Paradise.'"9

The Prophet also said: "Every servant of Allah possesses some propensity (shirra), and every propensity has its course (fatra) - either to the Sunna, or to innovation. If one's propensity is for the Sunna he has succeeded. If otherwise, he has perished."10

In a closely related context and meaning the Prophet also said, when a woman who fasted days and prayed nights was mentioned to him: "However, I sleep, pray, fast, and break my fast. Whoever follows my example is part of me, and whoever desires other than my Sunna has nothing to do with me. Every deed stems from a propensity and has its term. If one's course is to innovation then he has gone astray. If one's course is to the Sunna then he has followed guidance."11 A similar hadith was uttered in response to the three Companions - among them `Uthman ibn Madh`un - who had respectively vowed lifelong night vigil, lifelong chastity, and lifelong fasting.12

The Prophet also said: "Truly Religion consists in sincere faithfulness (inna al-din al-nasiha). Truly Religion consists in sincere faithfulness. Truly Religion consists in sincere faithfulness." They asked: "To whom, O Messenger of Allah?" He replied: "To Allah; to His Book; and to His Messenger, the leaders of the Muslims and their multitude."13

9. Nothing but truth comes out of his blessed mouth

`Abd Allah ibn `Amr said: "I used to write down everything that I heard from Allah's Messenger , intending to memorize it. The Quraysh forbade me, saying: `You write everything you hear from Allah's Messenger , but Allah's Messenger is a human being that speaks sometimes in anger and sometimes in contentment.' Thereupon I stopped writing. I mentioned this to Allah's Messenger and he said: `Write! By Him in Whose Hand is my soul! nothing but truth ever comes out of this' and he indicated his mouth."

The Prophet said: `May Allah brighten the face of [= grant prosperity to] that of His servants who hears my words, remembers [or preserves] them, guards them, and hands them on. Many a transmitter of knowledge does not himself understand it, and many may transmit knowledge to others who are more versed in it than they. The heart of a Muslim shall never harbor vindictive feelings against three things: sincerity in deeds made for Allah's sake; faithfulness to Muslims; and conformity to the community of believers - their invitation shall protect the believers and guard them from delusion.'"14

10. The best guidance of all is his guidance

The Prophet delivered a sermon in which he said: "To proceed: The best of all speech is Allah Almighty's Book. the best of all guidance is the guidance of Muhammad. The worst of all matters are newfangled matters. Every newfangled matter is an innovation, and every innovation is misguidance."15

`Umar -- Allah be well-pleased with him -- came to the Prophet and said: "We hear from the Jews narrations that impress us, do you think we should write down some of them?" The Prophet replied: "Are you all going to fall into the same chaos (amutahawwikun) in which fell the Jews and Christians? I brought it [the Religion] to you pristine and pure. If Musa were alive, he would have no alternative but to follow me!"16

Another version states that `Umar -- Allah be well-pleased with him -- passed by a man who was reciting a book, so he listened for a while and was pleased with what he heard. He asked the man: "Can you copy what is in that book?" He replied yes, whereupon `Umar bought a piece of hide for himself and brought it to the man who copied on its front and back [in Arabic].17 Then `Umar brought it to the Prophet and began to read it back to him. At the same time the Prophet's face changed color. Whereupon one of the men of the Ansar [`Abd Allah ibn Zayd]18 slapped down the book with his hand and said: "May your mother lose you, Ibn al-Khattab! Can you not see the face of Allah's Messenger since you began to read from that book?" The Prophet then said: "I was not sent except as an opener and a sealer. I was given the pithiest expressions with the vastest meanings and the openings of all discourse with true concision. Therefore let not those who are in chaos induce you into chaos."19

Another version states that `Umar -- Allah be well-pleased with him -- brought the Prophet a book he had taken from one of the People of the Book. He read it to the Prophet who became angry and said: "Are you all going to fall into chaos, O Ibn al-Khattab? By Him in Whose Hand is my soul! even if Musa were alive, he would have no alternative but to follow me."20

Another version states that `Umar -- Allah be well-pleased with him -- came to the Prophet and said: "O Messenger of Allah, I passed by a brother of mine from Banu Qurayza who wrote me some epitomes from the Torah, shall I not show them to you?" Hearing this the Prophet's face changed. `Abd Allah ibn Thabit said to `Umar: "Do you not see what is on the face of Allah's Messenger ?" `Umar said: "We are well-pleased with Allah as our Lord and Islam as our Religion and Muhammad as our Messenger!" The Prophet's anger abated then he said: "By the One in Whose Hand is my soul! If Musa came to you one morning and you were to follow him and leave me, you would be going astray. You are my lot among the nations and I am your lot among the Prophets."21

Another version states that `Umar -- Allah be well-pleased with him -- came to the Prophet with a copy of the Torah in his hand and said: "O Messenger of Allah! This is a copy of the Torah." The Prophet remained silent. As [`Umar] began to read the Prophet's face kept changed. Whereupon Abu Bakr said: "May your mother and grandmother lose you! Do you not see what is on the face of Allah's Messenger ?" `Umar looked up to the Prophet's face and said: "I seek refuge in Allah from Allah's anger and the anger of His Prophet! We are well-pleased with Allah as our Lord and with Islam as our Religion and with Muhammad as our Prophet!" Then the Prophet said: "By the One in Whose Hand is Muhammad's soul! If Musa were to appear before you and you were to follow him and leave me, you would be going astray and leaving the straight path. And if he were alive and heard of my Prophethood, he would follow me."22

Subsequently, `Umar in his caliphate forbade the copying or keeping of Biblical material, as shown by his hitting with a stick a man who had copied down the book of the Prophet Daniel.23

10a. The hadith "I have left among you two matters..."

The Prophet said: "I have left among you two matters by holding fast to which, you shall never be misguided: Allah's Book and the Sunna of His Prophet."24 Another version adds: "And these two shall never part ways until they show up at the Pond."25

Zayd ibn Arqam narrated: "The Prophet stood among us at a brook named Khumm between Mecca and Madina [three miles from al-Juhfa]. He praised Allah -- Almighty and Exalted -- and glorified Him then said: `To proceed: O people! Truly I am now only waiting for a messenger [of death] sent by my Lord so that I may respond. Therefore I am leaving among you the two weighty matters: Allah's Book - in it is the guidance and the light, therefore hold fast to Allah's Book, and conform to it!' - and he encouraged people to do so, and urged them. Then he said: `And the people of my House. I remind you of Allah -- Almighty and Exalted -- concerning the people of my House! I remind you of Allah -- Almighty and Exalted -- concerning the people of my House (ahl bayti)! I remind you of Allah -- Almighty and Exalted -- concerning the people of my House!'"26

Another version states that Jabir ibn `Abd Allah said: "I saw Allah's Messenger in his Pilgrimage on the Day of `Arafa as he was mounted on his camel al-Qaswa' addressing the people and I heard him say: `O people! I have left among you that which if you hold to it you shall never go astray: Allah's Book and my mantle (`itra), the People of my House.'"27

Other versions state: "I am leaving among you that which if you hold to it, you shall never go astray, one of them greater than the other: Allah's Book - a rope extended down from the heaven to the earth - and my mantle (`itra), the People of my House. These two shall never part ways until they come to me at the Pond. Look well to how you act with them after me."28

It is established that when the verse of mutual invocation of curses (mubahala) was revealed (3:61), the Prophet summoned `Ali, Fatima, al-Hasan, and al-Husayn, and said: "O Allah! These are my Family" (Allahumma ha'ula'u ahli).29 He repeated this act when the verse of the cleansing of the People of the House was revealed (33:33).30 The term ahl bayti was further defined among the pious Salaf as follows:

Husayn ibn Sabra said to Zayd: "Who are the People of his House, O Zayd? Are not his wives among the People of his House?" Zayd replied: "His wives are certainly among the People of his House, but the People of his House are [primarily] those for whom sadaqa is unlawful after the Prophet ." Husayn said: "And who are they?" He replied: "The family of `Ali, the family of `Aqil, the family of Ja`far [all sons of Abu Talib], and the family of `Abbas [ibn `Abd al-Muttalib]." Husayn said: "Is sadaqa unlawful for all of these?" Zayd replied yes.31

Lexically, the term `itra was defined as "A man's relatives such as his children, grandchildren, and paternal cousins"32 while in the context of the present hadiths it was explained to mean "Those of the Prophet's Family who follow his Religion and cling to his commands."33 What emerges from these meanings together with the two wordings of the hadith "I have left among you two matters" is firm evidence that there is an inseparable connection, until the Last Day, between the Qur'an, the Sunna, and the Family of the Prophet .

One of the meanings of the Family version is the Prophet's specific recommendation of `Ali ibn Abi Talib -- Allah be well-pleased with him -- to the Muslims as explicited by the following two narrations:

At the tree of Khumm the Prophet took `Ali by the hand and said: "O people! Do you not bear witness that Allah -- Almighty and Exalted -- is your Lord?" They said yes. He said: "Do you not bear witness that Allah is nearer and His Prophet is nearer to you all (awla bikum) than your own selves [cf. Qur'an 33:6], and that Allah -- Almighty and Exalted -- and His Prophet are your two protecting friends (mawlayakum) [cf. Qur'an 3:150, 8:40, 22:78, 66:2]?" They said yes. He said: "Anyone whose protecting friend (mawla) I am, this is his protecting friend!" Or he said - Ibn Marzuq, one of the narrators, was unsure - "`Ali is his protecting friend.34 Truly I have left among you that which if you hold to it, you shall never go astray: Allah's Book - which is His rope in your very hands - and the people of my House."35

On his way back from his Farewell Pilgrimage when the Prophet alighted at the brook of Khumm (Ghadir Khumm), he ordered a stop under the large trees then he said: "I seem to be called back [by my Lord], therefore I am responding [to Him]. Truly I have left among you the two weighty matters, one of them greater than the other: Allah's Book and my mantle (`itra), the People of my House. Look well to how you act with them after me. For these two shall never part ways until they show up at the Pond." Then he said: "Truly Allah -- Almighty and Exalted -- is my Protecting Friend, and I am the protecting friend of every believer." Then he took `Ali -- Allah be well-pleased with him -- by the hand and said: "Anyone whose protecting friend (mawla) I am, this is his protecting friend. O Allah! Be the Protecting Friend of whoever takes him as protecting friend, and be the enemy of whoever takes him as enemy." The Companion Abu al-Tufayl said to Zayd ibn Arqam: "You heard this from Allah's Messenger?" He replied: "There was no-one under those large trees except he saw it with his two eyes and heard it with his two ears."36

cont'd

NOTES

1Narrated from Jabir ibn `Abd Allah by al-Bukhari.

2Narrated from Ibn `Abbas by Ibn Abi `Asim in al-Sunna (p. 612-613 #1462=old ed. 2:627) and al-Tabarani in al-Kabir (11:214), both with weak chains as indicated by al-Haythami in Majma` al-Zawa'id (1:170) and Ibn `Adi in al-Kamil (2:352). Also narrated from Hudhayfa by al-Azdi in al-Jami` (11:344) with the wording: "No people march against Allah's rule in order to abase it except Allah abases their necks before they die," without Musaddad's gloss.

3A fair hadith due to its witness-narrations (hasan li ghayrih), narrated from Abu Bakrah by al-Tirmidhi (hasan gharib) with the wording: Zyad ibn Kusayb al-`Adawi narrated: "I was with Abu Bakrah under Ibn `Amir's pulpit while the latter was speaking, and he was wearing very fine clothes. Whereupon Abu Bilal [= Muradis ibn Uddayya, one of the Khawarij] said: `Look at our emir, he is wearing the garb of corrupt men!' Hearing this Abu Bakrah said: `Be quiet! I heard Allah's Messenger say: "Whoever denigrates Allah's ruler on earth, then Allah shall certainly denigrate him."'" Also narrated by Ahmad, with some additions, through two chains and, as part of a longer hadith, from Ibn `Abbas by al-Khatib in his Tarikh (6:67) - he alluded to its weakness - and al-Tabarani with a chain of sound narrators except for one unknown as stated by al-Haythami in Majma` al-Zawa'id (5:211-212).

4A "denounced" (munkar) hadith according to al-Dhahabi in Mizan al-I`tidal (3:444 #7094) narrated from Jabir by al-Tabarani in al-Awsat, al-Khatib in al-Faqih wa al-Mutafaqqih (1:90), Ibn `Asakir in his Tarikh (27:409-410), and Ibn `Abd al-Barr in Jami` Bayan al-`Ilm (2:1183-1184 #2340), all with chains containing Mahfuz ibn Miswar al-Fihri who is unknown - as stated by al-Dhahabi and al-Haythami in Majma` al-Zawa'id - and Baqiyya ibn al-Walid who used to conceal the weak links of his narrative chains so as to pass them off for strong ones.

5A mass-narrated (mutawatir) hadith of the Prophet - Allah bless and greet him -- narrated by Bukhari, Muslim, and others from nineteen Companions as stated by al-Kattani in Nazm al-Mutanathir.

6Narrated from `Abd Allah ibn `Amr by al-Baghawi in Sharh al-Sunna, Ibn Abi `Asim in al-Sunna (p. 12 #15), and al-Nasawi in al-Arba`in (p. 52), the latter two with weak chains because of Nu`aym ibn Hammad; also from Abu Hurayra with a chain of sound narrators according to Ibn Hajar in Fath al-Bari (1959 ed. 13:289), while al-Nawawi declared it hasan sahih in his Forty Hadiths (#42) as related by al-Qari in Sharl al-Mishkat (1994 ed. 1:412-413 #167).

7Al-Nawawi, Sharh Matn al-Arba`in (p. 134).

8In his Tafsir (3:491).

9Narrated by al-Tirmidhi (hasan gharib) with a weak chain because of `Ali ibn Zayd, although al-Tirmidhi considers him credible (saduq) and - in full - by al-Tabarani in al-Saghir (2:102) and Abu Ya`la in his Musnad (6:306-309) with weak chains because of Muhammad ibn al-Hasan ibn Abi Yazid as stated by al-Haythami in Majma` al-Zawa'id (1:272).

10Narrated from `Abd Allah ibn `Amr by Ahmad with five chains, al-Tahawi in Sharh Mushkil al-Athar (2:88), Ibn Abi `Asim in al-Sunna (p. 27-28 #51), al-Bayhaqi in Shu`ab al-Iman (3:399-400), Ibn Khuzayma in his Sahih (3:293-294 #2105), and his student Ibn Hibban in his (1:187-188 #11), all with sound chains as stated by Shaykh Shu`ayb al-Arna'ut in the latter and al-Haythami in Majma` al-Zawa'id (3:193). Also narrated from Ibn `Abbas by al-Bazzar with a chain of sound narrators, and from Abu Hurayra by al-Tabarani with a weak chain, both as indicated by al-Haythami also (2:259). The collation of the various accounts in Ahmad reveals that the events in which the hadith was uttered: `Abd Allah ibn `Amr married a Quraysh woman but did not cohabit with her, being engrossed in worship and fasting. News of this reached the Prophet who said to him: "Fast three days of the months" but `Abd Allah kept saying that he could bear with more until the Prophet told him to fast every other day. Then he told him to recite the Qur'an (in prayer once a month), finally allowing him to recite it in whole every three days. This account is also narrated by Bukhari and Muslim. Cf. Ibn Hajar, Fath al-Bari (1959 ed. 4:218). `Abd Allah's ibn `Amr's propensity for worship is one of the reasons why he reported less than Abu Hurayra, although the latter acknowledged that no-one heard more than he from the Prophet , except `Abd Allah ibn `Amr, because the latter could write, unlike Abu Hurayra; and Allah knows best.

11Narrated from an unnamed Companion by Ahmad in his Musnad with a chain of sound narrators as stated by al-Haythami in Majma` al-Zawa'id (3:193).

12Narrated from Anas by Bukhari, Muslim, al-Nasa'i, Ahmad with three chains; from `A'isha by Abu Dawud; and from Sa`d ibn Abi Waqqas by al-Darimi.

13Narrated from Abu Hurayra by al-Tirmidhi (hasan sahih) and Ahmad, and from Tamim al-Dari by Abu Dawud. Also narrated - without the repetition - from Tamim by Muslim and al-Nasa'i, and from Abu Hurayra by al-Nasa'i and Ahmad.

14 Narrated from Zayd ibn Thabit by al-Tirmidhi (hasan), Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah, Ahmad, al-Darimi, and al-Shafi'i in his Risala (#1102). Al-Tirmidhi's version does not mention the last sentence. On the variant wordings of this important hadith see Shaykh 'Abd al-Fattah Abu Ghudda's al-Rasul al-Mu'allim (p. 55-56).

15Narrated from Jabir by Muslim.

16Narrated from Jabir by al-Bayhaqi in Shu`ab al-Iman (1:200) and mursal from al-Hasan by al-Khatib in al-Jami` li Akhlaq al-Rawi (1991 ed. 2:228 #1531=1983 ed. 2:161) with weak chains.

17As stated by Ibn Hajar in Fath al-Bari (1959 ed. 13:525).

18Ibid.

19Narrated mursal from Abu Qilaba by `Abd al-Razzaq in his Musannaf (6:112-113).

20Narrated from Jabir by Ahmad, and Ibn Abi `Asim in al-Sunna (p. 27 #50) with weak chains because of Mujalid ibn Sa`id as indicated by al-Haythami in Majma` al-Zawa'id (1:174) - notwithstanding Hamza al-Zayn's lax grading of a "fair chain" in the Musnad (12:85 #15094). Also narrated from Jabir by Ibn `Abd al-Barr in Jami` Bayan al-`Ilm (2:805-806 #1497) with the addition: "Do not ask them about anything so that they will not tell you of something true which you might declare false, or something false which you might declare true." Al-Dhahabi in the Siyar (al-Arna'ut ed. 13:325) described the hadith as gharib while Albani in his Irwa' al-Ghalil (#1589) declares the narration fair on the basis of its witness-chains.

21Narrated from `Abd Allah ibn Thabit by Ahmad, al-Tabarani, `Abd al-Razzaq in his Musannaf (6:113), and al-Bayhaqi in Shu`ab al-Iman (3/4:307), all with weak chains because of Jabir ibn Yazid ibn al-Harith al-Ju`fi as indicated by al-Haythami in Majma` al-Zawa'id (1:173).

22Narrated from Jabir by al-Darimi with a weak chain because of Mujalid.

23Cited by Ibn Hajar in Fath al-Bari (1959 ed. 13:525).

24Narrated from Ibn `Abbas by al-Bayhaqi in al-Sunan al-Kubra (10:114 #20108) and - as part of a longer hadith - by al-Hakim (1:93=1990 ed. 1:171) who declared it sahih and - without chain - by Malik in his Muwatta'.

25Narrated from Abu Hurayra by al-Hakim (1:93=1990 ed. 1:172) and al-Bayhaqi in al-Madkhal.

26Narrated from Zayd ibn Arqam by Muslim, Ahmad with the addition of the words "I am only a human being," al-Darimi, al-Tahawi in Mushkil al-Athar (9:89 #3464), Ibn Abi `Asim in al-Sunna (#1550), al-Tabarani (#5028), and others.

27Narrated by al-Tirmidhi (hasan gharib) with a weak chain because of Zayd ibn al-Hasan al-Qurashi.

28Narrated from Zayd ibn Arqam by al-Tirmidhi (hasan gharib) and al-Hakim (3:148), the latter with a sound chain as confirmed by al-Dhahabi, but without the last sentence and the words "my mantle"; from Abu Sa`id al-Khudri by al-Tirmidhi (hasan gharib) and Ahmad with weak chains because of `Atiyya ibn Sa`d al-`Awfi; and from Zayd ibn Thabit by Ahmad and al-Tabarani in al-Kabir (5:153) with chains containing al-Qasim ibn Hassan who is passable (maqbul) and not trustworthy, contrary to al-Haythami's claim in Majma` al-Zawa'id (1:170). The latter version states: "I am leaving among you two successors (khalifatayn)..." Also narrated from Zayd ibn Arqam by al-Nasa'i in al-Sunan al-Kubra (5:45, 5:130) with the wording: "I am leaving among you the two weighty matters..."

29Narrated from Sa`d ibn Abi Waqqas by Muslim, al-Tirmidhi (hasan sahih gharib), al-Hakim and others.

30Narrated from Umm Salama by Ahmad with six chains, al-Tirmidhi with several chains (hasan sahih), al-Hakim, al-Tabarani, and others.

31Narrated by Ahmad in his Musnad with a sound chain.

32Mu`jam Maqayis al-Lugha (4:217).

33Al-Tahawi, Sharh Mushkil al-Athar (9:88).

34On this hadith see also the biographical notice on `Ali ibn Abi Talib, posted at http://www.sunnah.org/history/Default.htm.

35Narrated from `Ali by al-Tahawi with a fair chain as stated by al-Arna'ut in his edition of Sharh Mushkil al-Athar (5:13 #1760), while Ibn Hajar declared the chain sound (sahih) in al-Matalib al-`Aliya (#3972).

36A sound hadith narrated from Zayd ibn Arqam by al-Tahawi in Mushkil al-Athar (5:18 #1765) as stated by Shaykh Shu`ayb al-Arna'ut, also by al-Nasa'i in his Khasa'is `Ali (#79) and Fada'il al-Sahaba (#45), al-Hakim (3:109) who declared it sound, and al-Tabarani (#4969). The stand-alone hadith "I am leaving among you the two weighty matters: Allah's Book and the People of my House" is also narrated from Zayd ibn Arqam with a sound chain - as stated by al-Arna'ut - by Ahmad, al-Tahawi in Mushkil al-Athar (9:88 #3463), and al-Tabarani (#5040); from Abu Sa`id al-Khudri by Ahmad with a weak chain because of `Atiyya ibn Sa`d al-`Awfi; and from `Ali by al-Bazzar with a weak chain as indicated by al-Haythami in Majma` al-Zawa'id (9:163).

[13] The Probativeness of the Sunna

  4. PROOFS FROM THE NOBLE SUNNA FOR THE PROBATIVENESS OF THE SUNNA cont'd

11. Anything that he did not himself bring but which people innovate after him according to their whims and caprice, or to serve their lusts, is an innovation in the Religion (bid`a) which is completely rejected

A mass-narrated hadith states that the Prophet said: "There shall dawn upon my Community exactly what dawned upon the Israelites, as near [in resemblance] as a sandal-span. If the Israelites had a man openly commit incest with his mother then there shall also be someone who does this in my Community. Truly the Israelites divided into seventy-two sects and my Community shall divide into seventy-three - all of them in the Hellfire except one group." They asked: "Who are they, O Messenger of Allah?" He replied: "[Those that follow] that which I and my Companions follow."1

Another version states that the Prophet said: "Truly the people of the Book divided into seventy-two sects and this Community shall divide into seventy-three sects, all of them in the Fire except one - the Congregation. There shall come out of my Community people in whom unspeakable lusts run amok, the way a dog drags its owner here and there. There shall be not one nook or cranny except they enter it."2

Close to this is the hadith that states: "There shall come a temptation (fitna) which shall not leave one house of the Arabs intact except it shall enter it."3

Another version states that the Prophet said: "You shall embark on the practice of the People of the Book [that went] before you as closely as a sandal-span, not missing a step of the way, nor shall their way be any different from yours." A man among the people said: "O Messenger of Allah, will they even worship the calf of the Israelites?" The Prophet replied: "Yes, and the calf of my Community is So-and-So."4 (wa `ijlu ummati fulan)

A Companion-narration or mawquf report from Hudhayfa al-Yamani states: "The first thing you will lose from your Religion is humility (khushu`) and the last, prayer (salat). You shall certainly undo the bonds of Islam one by one. Women shall be praying while in menses. You shall certainly walk the road of those that came before you as closely as the arrow-feather and the sandal-span, not missing a step of the way, nor shall their way be any different from yours. In the end two out of many [wayward] sects shall remain. The first shall say: `What are these five prayers? Surely those that came before us went astray. Allah - Almighty and Exalted -- only said: {Establish worship at the two ends of the day and in some watches of the night} (11:114). Do not pray except three prayers!' The other sect shall say: `The faith of the believers in Allah is just like the faith of the angels. There is not, among us, a single apostate nor dissimulator!' It shall be right that Allah raise them together with the Antichrist."5 Although the chain of this narration is not raised up to the Prophet , nevertheless its status is that of a Prophetic hadith as it pertains to unseen matters which are not subject to the Companion's opinion and which he can only have said upon hearing them from the Prophet .

The Prophet said: "My similitude and that of the message Allah sent me with is that of a man who came to his people and said: 'O my people! I have seen the [enemy] army with my own two eyes, and I am warning you of the naked truth, so save yourselves!' Then a group of his people obeyed him and fled when night came, proceeding stealthily until they were safe, while another group disbelieved him and stayed where they were until morning. At that time the army came upon them, destroying and trampling them. This is the similitude of those who obey me and follow what I have brought [= the Qur'an and the Sunna], and the example of those who disobey me and disbelieve the truth I have brought."6

The Prophet is also related to say: "There are six types whom I have cursed and whom Allah has cursed as well as every Prophet that ever was:

- He who adds something to Allah's book; - He who denies Allah's foreordained Decree (qadar); - He who imposes imself upon others through tyranny, elevating thereby those whom Allah abased, and abasing those whom He elevated; - He who treats as licit what Allah has made forbidden; - He who treats as licit those of my Family (`itra) whom Allah has made forbidden; - He who abandons my Sunna."7

The Prophet is also related to say: "Knowledge (al-`ilm) consists in three matters and whatever else is superfluous: An unabrogated (muhkama) verse of Qur'an; a firmly established (qa'ima) Sunna; or a just inheritance law (farida)."8 Something similar is related mawquf from Ibn `Umar.9 Imam Malik (ra) said: "A ruling is one of two kinds (al-hukm hukman): a ruling brought by Allah's Book, and a ruling stipulated by the Sunna." He also said: "And the opinion of a mujtahid for it may be that he shall be granted success." He also mentioend the pretender, and disparaged him.10

The Prophet also said: "Whoso innovates in this matter of ours [= the Religion] what does not belong to it, it is null and void."11

NOTES

1Narrated from `Abd Allah ibn `Amr by al-Tirmidhi (hasan gharib), Muhammad ibn Nasr al-Marwazi in al-Sunna (p. 23), and al-Hakim (1:129=1990 ed. 1:218), all with weak chains for this wording which comes only through `Abd al-Rahman ibn Zyad al-Afriqi, who was declared weak by some but fair in his narrations by others. However, al-Lalika'i declared this hadith sound (sahih) in his Sharh Usul I`tiqad Ahl al-Sunna (1:100) and it was included - with its variant versions - by al-Kattani in his Nazm al-Mutanathir (p. 45-47). The second half of the hadith beginning with the words "Truly the Israelites divided..." is often quoted as a stand-alone narration and is the subject of a monograph by al-San`ani.

2Narrated from Mu`awiya by Abu Dawud and al-Hakim (1:128=1990 ed. 1:218) with a sound chain as he stated and al-Dhahabi concurred.

3Narrated from `Awf ibn Malik al-Ashja`i, `Umayr ibn Hani', and - mawquf -from Abu Hurayra by Nu`aym ibn Hammad in al-Fitan (1:50, 1:57, 1:238).

4Narrated from Hudhayfa ibn al-Yaman by al-Tabarani in Musna al-Shamiyyin (2:100).

5Narrated by al-Hakim (4:469=1990 ed. 4:516) who declared its chain sahih and al-Dhahabi confirmed it.

6Narrated from Abu Musa al-Ash`ari by Bukhari and Muslim, but Bukhari omits the last sentence.

7Narrated from `A'isha by al-Tirmidhi, al-Tahawi in Sharh Mushkil al-Athar (9:84-86 #3460-3462=4:366-367), Ibn Hibban in his Sahih (13:60 #5749), al-Hakim (1:36, 2:225, 2:525, 4:90), Ibn Abi `Asim in al-Sunna (#44, #337), and al-Tabarani, all with weak chains as stated by al-Dhahabi ["hadith munkar"] in his notes on the Mustadrak, al-Haythami in Majma` al-Zawa'id (1:176), al-Arna'ut in his edition of Ibn Hibban, and al-Albani in his edition of Ibn Abi `Asim. However, al-Tirmidhi declared as "more correct" the same hadith narrated through a mursal chain from Zayn al-`Abidin `Ali ibn al-Husayn ibn `Ali, from the Prophet so the hadith is weak but not "condemned," and Allah knows best.

8Narrated from `Abd Allah ibn `Amr by Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah, al-Hakim (4:332=1990 ed. 4:369), al-Daraqutni in his Sunan (4:67-68 #2), and al-Bayhaqi in his (6:208 #11942), all with weak chains because of `Abd al-Rahman ibn Rafi` al-Tannukhi and `Abd al-Rahman ibn Zyad ibn An`um. However, the narration is deemed acceptable by Abu Dawud, Ibn Kathir in his Tafsir (1:458), al-Qurtubi in his (5:56), al-`Azim Abadi in his commentary on al-Daraqutni, and Ibn Qudama in al-Mughni (6:162).

9Cf. Ibn Hazm in al-Ihkam (8:509-510), and al-Dhahabi in the Siyar (Arna'ut ed. 15:61) and Tadhkira al-Huffaz (3:807). Ibn Hajar in Tahdhib al-Tahdhib (6:159) related that Sufyan al-Thawri said that none of the people of knowledge considered this narration raised up to the Prophet .

10Narrated from Ibn Wahb by Ibn `Abd al-Barr in al-Tamhid (4:266).

11Narrated from `A'isha by al-Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah, and Ahmad.



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