In Pursuit Of Allah's Pleasure


  • bookcover

  • In Pursuit Of Allah's Pleasure


  • Part Three: Our Understanding

     

    We hope to understand Islam in its entirety in exactly the same way in which it was understood by the leading trustworthy scholars of the Ummah, who follow the Sunnah of the Prophet and that of the Rightly-Guided Caliphs (May Allah be pleased with them).

     

    We would like our being called `Muslims' to suffice, indicating that we understand Islam as understood by the scholars of our Ummah and our meritorious predecessors. However, the word `Muslim' is no longer enough to express what we actually want. In this day and age, the word `Muslim' no longer indicates how a 'Muslim' person understands his religion, nor even to know what Islam is!!

     

    Indeed, it has become commonplace these days to find a `socialist Muslim', a `liberal Muslim', a `progressive Muslim', a `secular Muslim', a Muslim who does not approve of ruling in accordance with Shari'ah or is not happy with some of its penal laws, and others who do not believe in Hisbah[1] and Jihad.

     

    This is a clear indication that Muslims no longer understand Islam as was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad . For numerous sinful forces have, over many centuries, been busy at work, intent on distorting Muslims' understanding of their religion. Their aim is to make the Muslims' confidence in Islam loose and shaky. They also want to bring Muslims out of the fold of Iman to total disbelief or at least to a deviation from the main course of Islam in fundamental beliefs and practices. They have succeeded in disfiguring the facts about Islam and in obscuring many Muslims' understanding of it, with a few exceptions.

     

    Our enemies learnt many lessons from what they had seen during their long wars against us, which spanned fourteen centuries. They learnt a lesson when they witnessed the Roman and Persian empires fall under the blows of Muslim swords. They learnt when they witnessed the return of the Muslim armies inflicting a crushing defeat on the Tartars in the wake of their invasion of its capital city and their reaching the eastern borders of Egypt after they had crossed Syria, Iraq and Asia Minor. They learnt when they saw Islam defeating the Crusaders' forces which mounted their attacks on Egypt and Syria for two centuries. They learnt when they saw Islam expanding eastwards to collect Jizyah from the People of the Book in China and westwards to annex Spain, the heart of Europe, and reach the gates of Vienna.

     

    Our enemies learnt that Islam will triumph as long as it has staunch followers who believe in it. Followers who are convinced that it is the only religion which has the power to rule the world and regulate Mankind, be they Arabs or non-Arabs, black or white!

     

    "And on that day, the believers will rejoice with the help of Allah. He helps whom He pleases; and He is the All-Mighty, the Most Merciful." [Surah Ar-Rum (30), Ayat 4-5.]

     

    Our enemies lost their minds when they realised this immutable and recurrent law of Allah. Namely that Allah's succour always comes as long as Islam has staunch followers who believe in it and are determined to live by it, no matter how powerful and well-equipped their enemies are! That is why they not only "bite their finger tips in rage[2]  but they also "made their plans; but their plans were with Allah. And even though their plans were such as to make the mountains move, [they did not succeed]." [3] But Allah protected His religion and rendered their efforts futile. "This is of Allah's grace upon us and upon Mankind." [Surah Yusuf (12), Ayah 38.]

     

    To distort the image of Islam in the minds of the Muslims, our enemies have been waging a desperate and relentless ideological campaign. This started with Qur'aish's slandering of the Prophet , saying that he was a poet, a diviner, a magician and a madman.

     

    Nevertheless, the Jahiliyyah is still waging war on Islam and the Muslims. Sometimes attacking and at other times retreating, they stab this religion in the chests of its followers. As a result of this many Muslims staggered and fell victim to this vicious attack. To make matters worse, groups of Muslims from amongst ourselves joined the ranks of the enemy. They became callers at Hell-Fire's gates, advertising the products and commodities of our enemies and casting their arrows for them. They are supported by the governments of our countries who, on their part, wish neither rewards nor thanks from the enemies!

     

    So who now can defend this religion when the overwhelming majority of Muslims maintain a confused idea about it. Muslim intellectuals have turned into mouthpieces of enemy propaganda and advertisers of heretic ideologies. Governments of Muslim countries extend their protection, with force at times, to the enemy agents. Only a small minority have held onto the true faith. But even among these privileged few, most have surrendered and declared their inability to resist this torrential stream and fierce hostility. As a result, they have accepted the distorted, amputated Islam planted in our lands, and gone along with the majority of Muslims in their heresies and wrong ideas about Islam.

     

    Consequently, instead of prescribing the medicine, most of those working for Islam have fallen victim to the disease. Some have come to regard it as merely a matter of worship rites and rituals, and refuse to take Da'wah outside the confines of prayer and supplication. It is as if Jihad, Hisbah and ruling by the Shari'ah have become abrogated for them. Some others talk only about purifying 'Aqeedah from fables and superstitions, while they turn a blind eye to the secular rulers who have substituted man-made laws for the Shari'ah of Allah, and are thus outside the circle of Islam.

     

    Others concentrate on learning and teaching Islam and do not approach the questions of' Da'wah and Jihad. Others call people to the obvious Sunnah of the Prophet with regard to eating, drinking, dressing and marriage, but never to his teachings concerning Jihad, government and jurisprudence. Others collect weapons and raise their voices calling to Jihad, but they have forgotten to prepare the men who will carry those weapons and later rule over the land. The true followers of this religion, however, cannot make any progress with it, thus curtailing its activity as a result of their lack of understanding it.

     

     

    Blow after blow, Islam and its followers suffer setbacks and defeats. The masses passively watch this happen; governments and enemy agents give their support and assistance, while the few working for Islam are standing by helplessly, unable to def - end themselves or their 'Aqeedah.

     

    To take Islam from defeat to victory, it is necessary to diagnose the disease and prescribe the cure. We must start to take the medicine, no matter how bitter it may be,

     

    "But it may happen that you hate a thing which is good for you." [Surah Al-Baqarah (2), Ayah 216.]

     

    **************

     

     Before tackling the issue of our understanding of Islam, it is perhaps important to point out the Muslim's misunderstanding of their religion. We must find out who is behind this `poisonous' misunderstanding, and expose all those who attempt to support it or defend it. This step should be taken in order to know the position from which we have been targeted. We need to take precautions against committing the same mistakes as those before us did. We must warn Muslims to be alert, and get ready to confront this `expert' ideological invasion. This humble effort will serve as a contribution, to the best of our ability, towards producing a generation along the lines of the early generation of Muslims. A generation which understands Islam as the early generation did and adapts their methods, as a prelude to the position of leading Mankind which seems to have gone forever.

     

    Islam means subservience, obedience, and total submission to the Will of Allah, Lord of - the Worlds. It involves following the teachings of the Prophet , which consist of commands, prohibitions, rules and regulations which govern our lives. Teachings which provide for all the needs of Mankind everywhere and at all times, in order to attain success in this life and the Hereafter.

     

    This is, briefly and simply, the meaning of Islam with which came Prophet Muhammad and as understood by our meritorious predecessors and as we have learnt it from the scholars of this Ummah.

     

    This is what our 'Aqeedah confirms in our hearts, namely that "Allah is the Creator of all things." [4] He is aware of everything. He knows what was and what will be, and how what was not could have been. He "knows the unseen. Not an atom's weight in the heavens or in the earth or anything less than that or greater, escape Him, but all is recorded in a Clear Book."[5] He is the Wise in actions, words and laws. He is the Expert who knows what is good for His servants today and tomorrow. The Message revealed to Prophet Muhammad is the seal of all divine revelations. This final religion has come to all Mankind from the day the Prophet received it to the Day of Judgement. All of Mankind is commanded to follow it,

     

     "Say, `0 Mankind! Truly I am the Messenger of Allah to you all." [Surah al-A'raaf (7), Ayah 158.]

     

    "And whoever seeks a religion other than Islam, it will never be accepted of him, and in the Hereafter he will be among the losers." [Surah Ale-Imran (3). Ayah 85.]

     

    This conviction obliges us to believe that this final Message came to encompass all Mankind within the confines of its Divine order. This message includes everything that people need in their lives. It came to show them what they need to do in order to head for the better. It came to decide people's 'Aqeedah, worship, moral conduct, government, international relations, the leading of society, the settling of disputes and judging between people.

     

    This is how the Prophet conducted his life. He was the Messenger, the preacher, the ruler, the judge, the tutor, the army commander and the leader in prayer. The Rightly-Guided Caliphs who came after him followed this example.

     

    On the authority of Abu Najeeh al-'Irbadh bin Sariyah (ra) who said: "The Messenger of Allah gave us a sermon by which our hearts were filled with fear and tears came to our eyes. We said: 'O Messenger of Allah, it is as though this is a farewell sermon, so counsel us.' He said: 'l counsel you to fear Allah, Glorious is He, and to give absolute obedience even if a slave becomes your leader. Verily, he among you, who lives (long) will see great controversy, so you must keep to my Sunnah and to the Sunnah of the Rightly-Guided Caliphs. Cling to them, stubbornly. Beware of newly invented matters, for every invented matter is an innovation and every innovation is a going astray and every going astray is in the Hell-Fire."[6] 

     

     Our Prophet received all his teachings from Allah alone. The Rightly-Guided Caliphs followed nothing but the example of our Prophet . This is ample evidence that the Sunnah of the Prophet is sufficient for Man to manage the affairs of this life in all its aspects, as did our predecessors.

     

    Allah says (which means), "This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed My favour unto you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion." [Surah Al-Ma'idah (5). Ayah 3.]

     

     This is part of a verse which consists of three statements, each of which provides ample evidence that Islam is perfect and all comprehensive and serves to be implemented everywhere and at al times.

     

    'Perfection of religion' means that Islam has not ignore anything, be it great or small, incorporating everything one way or the other. This also means that no-one, at any time and anywhere, can add something new and claim that he has perfected Islam, whether this new addition is in the domain of 'Aqeedah, economics, politics, peace, war or government.

     

    'Completion of favour' means that there is nothing complete or better than this religion, for it contains no defects and nothing.

     

    'Choosing Islam as our religion' shows us that Allah does not accept a deficient religion for His servants. He was satisfied that Islam should be the religion of Mankind, from the time He revealed the Message to His messenger, until the Day of Judgement. Let no-one now say that Islam was complete and satisfactory in the past but is no longer so.

     

    It is not acceptable, therefore, to say that Allah created Mankind but then was unable to find a complete, all-encompassing way of life through which they could run their lives and manage their affairs. Nor is it acceptable to say that the passage of time and the changing of circumstances challenged the Will of Allah, The Mighty, The All-Knowing, by creating conditions, events and issues which He did not take into account and regarding which He did not make His rulings. This is a religion that He commanded all Mankind to follow until the Day of Judgement, "Glory to You [O Allah]; this is an awful calumny." [Surah An-Nur (24), Ayah 16.]

     

    Allah said (which means), "The decision rests with Allah only." [7]and "And in whatsoever you differ, the decision thereof rest with Allah."[8] How then could it be claimed that there are issues and cases that are impossible to deal with through Islam and that we should step outside its tenets and relieve ourselves of its restrictions, in order to run our lives effectively?

     

    Can anyone claim that he can come up with a doctrine or system better or more complete than Islam, in matters relating to economics, politics, peace, war, 'Aqeedah or worship? No-on can claim so except those who are insane. Even if someone were to claim that he can produce a way of life better than Islam, would we believe him and abandon our religion and way of life to follow these heretical and unfounded claims?

     

    The fact of the matter is that Mankind has never known, and will never know, of a system which is better than Islam in its comprehensiveness, completeness, exaltedness, perfection, wisdom, justice, precision, ease, and practicality.

     

    Islam is all-comprehensive: it is a Qur'an and a sword; knowledge and worship; `Aqeedah and Shari'ah; moral conduct and government; action and reward; the life of this world and the Hereafter:

     

    "We have neglected nothing in the Book." [Surah Al-An'am (6), Ayah 39.]

     

    Islam comprises everything: the correct 'Aqeedah:

     

    "Worship Allah and associate none with Him [in worship]." [Surah An- Nisa (4), Ayah 36.], 

     

    the humble and heartfelt worship:

     

    "Guard strictly the [five obligatory] prayers, especially the middle prayer, and stand up with devotion to Allah." [Surah Al-Baqarah (2), Ayah 238.],

     

     the command to struggle against Satan and desires:

     

    "Do not follow the footsteps of Satan." [Surah Al-Baqarah (2), Ayah 168.]

     

    "Have you seen him who chooses for his god his own lust?" [Surah Al- Furqan (25). Ayah 43.],

     

    the command to be kind to one's parents:

     

    "And show kindness unto parents." [Surah An-Nisa, (4), Ayah 36.],

     

    the encouragement to seek knowledge:

     

    "And say, `My Lord! Increase me in knowledge.'"[Surah Ta-Ha (20). Ayah 114.],

     

    "Say (unto them, O Muhammad): `Are those who know equal with those who do not know?'"[Surah Az-Zumar (39), Ayah 9.],

     

    the command to adhere to good conduct:

     

    "And speak kindly to Mankind." [Surah Al-Baqarah (2), Ayah 83.],

     

    the command to govern by the Law of Allah:

     

    "So judge between them by that which Allah has revealed." [Surah Al- Ma'idah (5), Ayah 49.],

     

    the command to engage in Da'wah and call people to the way of Allah:

     

    "Call unto the way of your Lord with wisdom and fair exhortation, and reason with them in the better way." [Surah An-Nahl (16), Ayah 125.],

     

    the command to enjoin good and forbid evil:

     

    "And let there arise from amongst you, a nation which invites to goodness, enjoins what is right and forbids what is evil. Such are they who are successful." [Surah Ale-Imran (3), Ayah 104.],

     

    the command to fight in the way of Allah:

     

    "Fighting [Jihad] is ordained for you, though it is hateful unto you." [Surah Al-Baqarah (2), Ayah 216.],

     

     the command to accompany the righteous deeds with the good intention:

     

    "And whoever hopes for the meeting with his Lord, let him do righteous work and associate none as a partner in the worship of his Lord." [Surah Al-Kahf (18), Ayah 110.],

     

     the description of actions and their rewards:

     

    "And whosoever does good equal to an atom's weight will see it then; and whosoever does ill equal to an atom's weight will see it then." [Surah Az-Zalzalah (99), Ayat 7-8.],

     

    the command to obey the Muslim ruler:

     

    "O you who believe! Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger and those of you who are in authority." [Surah An-Nisa (4), Ayah 59.],

     

    the command to those in charge to judge with justice:

     

    "Verily! Allah commands you that you restore deposits to their owners, and, if you judge between Mankind, that you judge justly." [Surah An-Nisa (4), Ayah 58.],

     

    And to those in charge to seek counsel:

     

    "And consult with them upon the conduct of affairs." [Surah Ale-Imran (3), Ayah 159.].

     

     Islam regulates the relation between the individual and his neighbours as well as that between the Muslim nation and its non-Muslim neighbours. It regulates the small family in matters of marriage, nursing and divorce as well as that of society as a whole. It regulates the relationship between the governing and the governed. It regulates the circulation of money in society, its sources and the areas where it is spent. It sets individuals as guards upon their own conduct in this life because they will be accountable for it in the Hereafter. It instils in the heart of the individual, deterrents which will prevent him from disobeying his Lord. It also codifies punitive measures in case he transgresses the set limits. In a word, it is a religion which regulates the needs of Mankind within the framework of an all-inclusive system.

     

    How could any other doctrine challenge such a complete system? Allah ( SWT ) says (which means):

     

    "Should He not know what He created? And He is the Most Kind and Courteous [to His slaves], All- Aware." [Surah Al-Mulk (67), Ayah 14.]

     

     Any attempt to break up Islam is therefore an unpardonable sin, for doing so could only destroy the whole system. Islam cannot be established as worship without an 'Aqeedah, or an 'Aqeedah without worship. Neither can it be merely a set of beliefs and rituals without laws and codes to govern human relationships and interaction. We Muslims must not take part of it to the exclusion of other parts; doing so undoubtedly leads to loss and disaster both in this life and in the Hereafter. Allah says (which means):

     

    "So judge between them by that which Allah has revealed, and follow not their desires, but beware of them lest they seduce you from some part of that which Allah has revealed unto you." [Surah Al-Ma'idah (5), Ayah 49.]

     

     Islam succeeds and triumphs because it is a complete, integral, religion. If any part of it is omitted, amended or altered, then it will never be able to triumph.

     

    Furthermore, the world in which we live confronts us with many demands which we will not be able to meet unless we take Islam as a whole and base our actions entirely upon it alone.

     

    Indeed, we are in need of a sound 'Aqeedah so that our faith may become strong and our hearts confident. This will by all means lead us , to rely completely on Allah and to carry out our duties against all adversities. Such is the 'Aqeedah to which we call and in which we educate people.

     

    We need all acts of worship and rituals, be they obligatory or voluntary, because they are the only provisions we can take from this life to the Next. For how can we travel without provisions? They purify our intentions and hearts, and cleanse our limbs. They are our weapons against our desires and against Satan. We strive hard to establish them and call people to observe them.

     

    We need Islamic knowledge in order to worship Allah in the way He instructed us, to avoid deviation from the right path and become like "Those whose efforts have been wasted in this life while they thought that they were acquiring good by their deeds." [9]

     

     Our goal is to acquire knowledge of our religion and to teach it to the people.

     

    We need good character in order that our interactions may be correct and our behaviour elevated. We must treat everyone as they deserve, in accordance with the Shari'ah, and protect our own words and actions against falling into the `mire' of Jahiliyyah. We always endeavour to refine our character and that of the people around us.

     

    We need to communicate the message of Islam to all Mankind: to the disbeliever so that he may embrace Islam; to the believer so that he may stand firm and advance; and to the disobedient so that he may repent. If we fail to do so, Islam will become extinct and its Message will be overwhelmed by the deviant creeds that pervade everywhere. We go forth calling people to this religion, bringing good news and warning of terrible punishment.

     

    We need to enjoin virtue and forbid evil; otherwise, vice will spread and destroy our Da'wah. We strive hard to remove from our path, every vice we find and enjoin every virtue we lack, in accordance with the laws of Islam and in the light of the teachings of our Ulama.

     

    We need to wage Jihad, for without it the flag of Islam will never he raised and the forces of disbelief will continue to dominate our lives. Jihad is the weans by which we can establish the Caliphate after having removed the disbelieving rulers who have replaced the law of Allah by man-made laws. Besides, it is the only way to regain our lands which have been taken away from us. We prepare ourselves for Jihad and encourage the believers to undertake it.

     

    We need to adhere to the guidance of the Prophet in all matters, great and small. This will instil in our hearts, love for him and love for Allah's religion. This serves as a sign of love for Allah:

     

    "Say, (O Muhammad to Mankind): `If you [really] love Allah then follow me; Allah will love you and forgive you your sins, Allah is Oft- Forgiving, Most Merciful." [Surah Ale-Imran (3), Ayah 31.]

     

     We strive to follow the guidance of the Prophet and to call people to adhere to it.

     

    We are in dire need of referring to the laws of Allah in all our affairs. We call to this and wage Jihad to establish the laws of Allah.

     

    We need all these things and everything else that Islam brought us. To forego one single aspect of our religion is to invite failure and frustration for our movement and Da'wah. For Allah, Exalted is He, has promised victory to His religion which He revealed to His Prophet , and also victory to those from amongst His servants who adhere to it. As Allah says (which means):

     

    "Verily Allah will help those who help His [Cause]. Truly Allah is All- Strong, Almighty." [Surah Al-Hajj (22), Ayah 40.]

     

     Conversely, all innovated, forbidden systems and ideologies apart from this religion of Islam will know no victory or glory. How dare we neglect parts of Allah's religion and not act upon them and call people to do so? And what excuses shall we make before our Lord who says (which means) :

     

    "This day have I perfected your religion for you and completed My favour unto you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion." [Surah Al- Ma'idah (5), Ayah 3.]

     

    We have no right whatsoever to take part of Islam and claim that it does not belong to it; nor do we have the right to claim that only part is the whole of Islam. Allah has forbidden us from doing so in the strongest possible terms:

     

    "Then, do you believe you in a part of the Scripture and reject the rest? Then what is the recompense of those who do so among you, except disgrace in the life of the world, and on the Day of Resurrection they will be consigned to the most grievous torment. And Allah is not unaware of what you do."[Surah Al-Baqarah (2), Ayah 85.]

     

    Deplorably enough, there are many people today who put their own ideas before the Book of Allah, the Sunnah of His Prophet and the understanding of our pious predecessors. Some of these call for living the different phases that Islam went through in the past. Some live with their Da'wah in the `Makkan Period', others in the `phase of calling secretly to Islam', others in the phase of `the defensive war'. Some have not even received revelations yet! And for ever phase they take part of the laws of Islam to the exclusion of all the others. Some neglect Hisbah, others abandon Jihad. Some forsake Da'wah, and others reject Islam altogether.

     

    We must expose these people and expose their falsehood. We must also tell them to fear Allah and practise His religion in its entirety.

     

    By Allah, they have abandoned those parts of Islam only because of their cowardice or because they found it too hard, but as for whatever is easy and appealing to their desires, that they adopt with no objections. It would have been better for them if they had admitted their cowardice, weakness and neglect, but they have insisted on twisting the teachings of Islam so that it may conform with their innate weakness, cowardice and neglect.

     

    Worse still, they do not blush to claim that they have a deeper understanding, a sounder method and a more refined performance. They do not mind if the religion of Allah is lost as long as they still enjoy their position as leaders, intellectuals, philosophers and theorists.

     

    We must expose these people because they are destroying the foundations of Islam and claim that they are building its edifice and shielding it against attack. They tear it to shreds and claim that they are repairing what time has damaged. They paralyse Islam, deprive it of all its weapons, sever its organs and push into a fierce Battle with a ruthless Jahiliyyah which will, in a short period of time, defeat them and  their crippled form of `Islam' and make people think that this defeat has been effected only because of Islam.

     

    A question arises. Is Islam so inadequate that it needs such `intellectual guardianship' imposed upon it by people who undertake to delete, alter and confirm it without any evidence from the Qur'an, the Sunnah, and consensus of the Muslim scholars?

     

    "Glorified is He, and High Exalted above what they say!" [Surah An-Nahl (16), Ayah 43.]

     

    Indeed, Islam knows full well how to manage its own affairs, how to guide its followers and regulate their lives, how to teach and educate them, and how to set priorities and plans of action for them. Islam knows full well how to conduct the battle with Jahiliyyah: when to attack, when to withdraw and when to hold firm.

     

    The scholars of our Ummah have explained and elaborated upon all these points, and there will always be, in every generation, scholars who will undertake to expound this to Mankind. As for those who follow heresy and their own whims, Islam is self-sufficient and can dispense with them, their 'guardianship' and their theories. It does not want them to serve under its banner, whether in conducting Da'wah or waging Jihad. Islam needs true and sincere believers who submit to its commands, without altering, deleting, or adding anything to it.

     

    Those people who want to impose `guardianship' on Islam should have it imposed on them due to their poor opinions and low intelligence. They failed to understand this religion or rise to its loftiness and glory because of their meagre understanding and intelligence; and so they want Islam to come down to them instead and sink to their level!

     

    We know from the teachings of Islam and from the explanations of our Muslim scholars that Jihad ceases to be an obligation due to the inability to wage it, but it is still binding upon us to prepare ourselves for it until such a time when we are able to carry it out. We also know that forbidding vice does not become obligatory if it is likely that doing so would lead to a greater evil than the vice in question. In such a case, the forbidding of vice itself becomes forbidden. But the application of these rules is only permissible under certain circumstances. It is an unforgivable crime to abandon Jihad or Hisbah altogether on the grounds that we are in a weak position and start, accordingly, inventing new rules or reviving the abrogated ones. To adopt such a position simply means the perpetuation of this phase of weakness. After Allah ( SWT ) has perfected our religion for us, the instructions and obligations of Islam remain binding upon us at all times. If we find ourselves unable at a time to carry out an obligation we must work hard to acquire the means by which we can do so. To be content with humiliation and remain inactive under the pretext of being in a weak position is an act of betrayal which will undoubtedly lead to disgrace and ignominy.

     

    Those who are content to remain in this `phase of weakness' and invent rules to perpetuate it will remain in such a state until they die and their call dies with them or they repent and come to their senses. We stand in amazement before the poor opinions of these innovators which none of our predecessors ever adopted. It is obvious that by doing so they seek to evade the Islamic laws altogether. Those who claim that they live in the 'Makkan Period' must explain to us whether

     

    They should turn their faces in prayer towards Jerusalem, as the early Muslims did in Makkah, or towards the Ka'bah. Are they going to allow the consumption of alcohol? Will prayer at night be obligatory again? Or do the rules of the 'Makkan Period' apply only to Jihad, Hisbah and speaking the truth?

     

    The only true criterion for a correct and complete understanding of Islam is to find out how the pious predecessors of this Ummah understood it. Namely the Companions of the Prophet , the Tabi'oon and those who followed in their footsteps from amongst the trustworthy scholars of our Ummah, who did not invent, change or alter anything of the religion. Those who applied the words of the Prophet : "Adhere to my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the Rightly-Guided Caliphs who succeed me. Cling to them stubbornly."[10]

     

    True to the words of the Prophet , we do not deviate from the understanding of the early Muslims and we do not replace it with any other because they are our guide whose light leads the way to the true Islam revealed to Muhammad . The Message of this religion has been carried in every generation by its scholars whom Allah has chosen to bear this trust. It is these scholars, from every generation, who followed the Sunnah of the Prophet it and adhered to it, and thus had the way leading to Allah paved before them. Whoever wants to find this true path must follow their example.

     

    Al-Awza'ee said, "Bear patiently with [the practice on the Sunnah, hold the same position as they [Sahabah] did, say what they said, avoid what they avoided, and follow in the footsteps of the pious predecessors."

     

    Whoever wants Islam with which the trustworthy Prophet Muhammad came must follow in the footsteps of Abu Bakr, 'Umar bin Al-Khattab, 'Uthman bin 'Affan, 'Ali bin Abee Talib, Zayd bin Thaahit, 'Abdullah bin Mas'ood, 'Abdullah bin 'Umar, 'Abdullah bin 'Abbaas, 'Abdullah bin 'Amr bin al-'Aas, Sa'eed bin Al-Musayyib, Khaarijah bin Zayd, 'Urwah bin az-Zubayr, Sulayman bin Yasaar, 'Abdullah bin 'Abdullah bin 'Utbah, Abu Bakr bin 'Abdur-Rahman, Salim bin 'Abdullah bin 'Umar, Imam Abu Hanifah, Imam Malik Imam ash-Shafi'ee and Imam Ahmad. He must take the example of al-Bukhari, Muslim, Ibn Mu'een, al-Madeenee, Ibn Taymeeyah, adh- Dhahabee, Ibn Al-Qayyim and Ibn Rajab, and many others.

     

    As for those who are pleased with other than Islam, they have "indeed gone astray from the right path."[11] They have gone astray because they have not chosen the truth: "So after the truth, what else, can there be except error?" [Surah Yunus (10), Ayah 32.]

     

    It is the understanding of our pious predecessors that we must follow, because they possessed means of Ijtihad and enjoyed the mental faculties. At the turn of every century Allah sends in their like, those who can revive the religion for this Ummah. They are the Prophets' heirs and Muslims all over the world admit their true knowledge, virtue, sound understanding, and guidance. Their fear of Allah prevented them from withholding the Truth in return for worldly profits or compromises with their rulers. They would present themselves before the Fire and the Garden before uttering a word. They acted upon the verse (which means) :

     

    "Those who convey the Message of Allah and fear Him, and fear none except Allah. And sufficient is Allah as a Reckoner." [Surah Al-Ahzaab (33), Ayah 39.]

     

    They never put their own reasoning before the Qur'an and the Sunnah. They simply said that their opinions were but evidence supporting other evidence. They instructed their followers to dismiss any of their opinions which did not conform to the Sunnah of the Prophet and exonerated the religion of Allah from any mistake any of them might make. They warned people against accepting the permission of any scholar. They also said that the teachings of any man could be taken and rejected except those of the Prophet . They are the ones who did not indulge in excess or restraint, but remained a people of the middle course.

     

    They sincerely devoted themselves to Allah, followed the Sunnah and held fast to their true religion. Allah therefore protected them against consensus over an erroneous judgement and honoured them as the bearers of the banner of Islam and as milestones on the Path of Truth which cannot be reached except by those who follow their example. Allah says (which means):

     

    "And whoever contradicts and opposes the Messenger after the Guidance [of Allah] has been manifested unto him, and follows other than the believers' way, we shall keep him in the path he has chosen, and burn him in Hell: what an evil destination." [Surah An-Nisa (4), Ayah 115.]

     

     Following the guidance of our pious predecessors is our guarantee against deviation and heresy. It is the sure key to becoming part of the `victorious group' of believers about whom the Prophet said: "A group of my Ummah will continue to fight for the Truth, victorious until the Day of Judgement". [12]

     

     Following any path other than that of Islam remains a false claim and a big heresy; such false claims and heresies being abound in our time.

     

    [1] Hisbah: To enjoin the good, and forbid the wrong.

    [2] Surah Ale-Imran (3), Ayah 119.

    [3] Surah Ibrahim (14), Ayah 46.

    [4] Surah Az-Zumar (39), Ayah 62.

    [5] Surah Saba (34), Ayah 3.

    [6] Hasan Sahih Hadith, related by Abu Dawud and Tirmidhi.

    [7] Surah Yusuf (12), Ayah 40.

    [8] Surah Ash-Shura (42), Ayah 10.

    [9] [Surah Al-Kahf (18), Ayah 104.]

    [10] Tirmidhi.

    [11] Surah Al-Ma'idah (5), Ayah 12.

    [12] Bukhari.

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