The Basic Tenets of The Creeds of Ahl Sunnah wal Jama’a (part-1)
Author: Sheikh Dr. Sholeh bin Fauzan bin Abdullah Al-Fauzan
All praises be to Allah, Lord of the universe, Who has guided us all to the light of Islam, and never will we get any guidance, if Allah doesn’t give it to us. We ask Allah to be steadfast upon His guidance until the end of our lives, as He the Glorified and Exalted decreed,
“Believers! Fear Allah as He should be feared, and see that you do not die save in submission to Allah.” (Chapter Ali ‘Imran/The Family of ‘Imran:102).
Likewise, we ask Allah so that our hearts will not be turned into following the astray, after we are blessed with guidance.
“They pray to Allah: “Our Lord! Do not let our hearts swerve towards crookedness after You have guided us to the Right Way,” (Chapter Ali ‘Imran/The Family of ‘Imran:8)
May Peace and prayer of Allah always be upon our prophet, our role model and beloved, the Messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- , the one He sent as the mercy to people of the whole world. And may Allah’s please always be upon his righteous and holy companions, from the Emigrants and the Helpers, and his devoted followers, as long as the day and the night exist.
After that: below are some brief sentences regarding the explanation of the creeds of the Ahl Sunnah wal Jama’a, which in fact are becoming the object of disagreement among the muslims, hence their scattering into sects and groups. It is proven by the emergence of various contemporary groups (of da’wa) and different sects. Each calls the man (muslim) to its group, each claims that his group is the best and the truest, to the extent that a common muslim becomes confused as to which group shall he learns Islam from, and to which sect shall he join. Even a disbeliever who want to embrace Islam also becomes confused, which Islam that is true and the one that he shall read and learn about? The answer is the Islam that is based on the Qur’an and the sunnah that has been practiced and clearly depicted by the lives of the Prophet’s companions and the one that has been the compass of life since centuries ago; however, that disbeliever could only see Islam as a big name without meaning for himself.
That is how an Orientalist once said about Islam: “Islam is been shrouded by its own followers.” I.e., people who claimed to be muslim, but are inconsistent with the true teaching of Islam.
We do not say that Islam has been lost entirely, since Allah has guaranteed its survival along with the eternity of His holy book, as He decreed,
“As for the Admonition, indeed it is We Who have revealed it and it is indeed We Who are its guardians.” (Chapter Al Hijr/ the Rocky Track:9)
Therefore, it is a certainty that there will always be a group among the muslims who remain consistent in holding to their religion, preserve, and defend it, as Allah the Glorified and Exalted said,
“Believers! If any of you should ever turn away from your faith, remember that Allah will raise up a people whom He loves and who love Him; a people humble towards the believers, and firm towards the unbelievers; who will strive hard in the way of Allah and will not fear the reproach of the reproacher. This is the favour of Allah which He grants to whom He wills. Allah is All- Resourceful, All-Knowing.” (Chapter Al Maida/The Table Spread:54)
And His decree,
“Behold, you are those who are called upon to spend in Allah’s Way, but some of you are niggardly. Whoever is niggardly is in fact niggardly to himself. For Allah is All-Sufficient, whereas it is you who are in need of Him. If you turn away, He will replace you by a people other than you, and they will not be like you.” (Chapter Muhammad:38)
The said group or jama’a is the one meant by Allah’s Messenger -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- in his saying,
“There will always be a group among my followers that defend the truth, they will always emerge victorious, and those who insult and defy them will not be able to harm them, until the time of Allah’s ordainment (Exalted be He), while they are still on it.” (Narrated by Al-Bukhari 4/3641, 7460; and Imam Muslim, 5 part 13, page. 65-67 according to the explanation of Imam Nawawee).
From this point, it is a must to us, and to anyone who wants to know the true Islam and its loyal follower, to recognize this blessed group which represents the true Islam. May Allah include us among this group, so that we could take examples and follow their path, and so that any disbeliever who wants to embrace Islam could know it and join it later.
Al Firqotun Najiyya is the Ahl Sunnah wal Jama’a
During the reign of the Messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- the muslims were one ummah, as in Allah the Glorified and Exalted’s decree,
“Verily this community of yours is a single community, and I am your Lord; so worship Me.” (Chapter Al Anbiyaa/The Prophets:92)
Thus, the several attempts of the jews and the hypocrites to divide the muslims during the time of the Messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- only ended in failure. The hypocrites had said,
“Give nothing to those who are with the Messenger of Allah so that they may disperse.”
Of which Allah was quick to refute in the next part of that verse:
” (They say so although) the treasures of the heavens and the earth belong to Allah. But the hypocrites do not understand.” (Chapter Al Munafiqun/The Hypocrites:7)
Likewise, the jews had also tried to divide the unity of the muslims and expel them from Islam.
“A party of the People of the Book said: “Believe in the morning what has been revealed to those who believe, and then deny it in the evening that they may retract (from their faith).” (Chapter Ali ‘Imran/The Family of Imran:72)
However, their evil plots were never come into fruition, for Allah had revealed and humiliated them.
Then, they attempted for the second time to divide the muslims (between the emigrants and the helpers), by provoking the helpers in regard to the animosity between them before the arrival of Islam, and the battle of poems between them. Allah had dismantled their evil plot in His decree,
“Believers! Were you to obey a party of those who were given the Book, they might cause you to renounce the Truth after you have attained to faith.” (Chapter Ali ‘Imran/The Family of Imran:100).
to His decree,
“on the Day when some faces will turn bright and other faces will turn dark.” (Chapter Ali-Imran/The Family of Imran : 106).
Hence the Prophet -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- came to the helpers, advised and reminded them of the favor of Islam and their union through Islam, thus they returned and shook one another’s hands and hug each other, after their almost-dispersal. (Refer to Tafseer Ibn Katsir I/397 and Asbabun Nuzul Al-Wahidy page 149-150). By their return to unity, the evil plot of the jews met its failed end, and the muslims stayed on their union. Indeed, Allah had ordered them to unite upon the truth, and He forbade any dispute and division, as in His decree,
“Do not be like those who fell into factions and became opposed to one another after Clear Signs had come to them…” (Chapter Ali ‘Imran/The Family of Imran: 105)
He also said,
“Hold fast together to the cable of Allah, and be not divided.” (Chapter Ali ‘Imran/The Family of Imran: 103)
And for certain, Allah had required them to unite, in performing many kinds of worshipping rituals, such as praying, fasting, in pilgrimage, and pursuing knowledge. Prophet Muhammad -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- had also ordered the muslims to unite and forbade them dispute and division. He even had told them a news that contained the suggestion to unite and prohibition of dispute, i.e., through the news about the impending division among this ummah, as with the previous ummah, in his saying,
“Verily, people who live after me will witness so many conflicts. Therefore, holding yourself strongly into my lesson and the lesson of Khulafa Ar-Rasyidin Al-Mahyidin, after me. “(Narrated by Abu Daud 5/4607 and Tirmidzi 5/2676, he also said that the status of this hadith is hasan shahih ; also narrated by Imam Ahmad 4/126-127 and Ibn Maja 1/43).
He also said,
“The Jews splits into seventy-one sects; and the christians splits into seventy two sects; whereas my ummah will split into seventy-three sects, all of whom will be in the Fire except one sect.” They said: Who are they, O Messenger of Allah? He said: “[Those who follow] the path which I and my companions follow.” (Narrated by Imam Tirmidzi 5/2641 and Al-Hakim in his work, Mustadrak I/128-129, and Imam Al-Ajury in Asy-Syari’ah page 16, -and Imam Ibn Nashr Al-Mawarzy in As-Sunnah page 22-23 printer by the Foundation of Kutubus Tsaqofiyyah 1408, and Imam Al-Lalikaai in Syar Ushul I’tiqaad Ahlus Sunnah Wal-Jama’ah I no. 145-147).
Indeed, the news brought by the Messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- has became real, and thus, this ummah – at the end of the time of the companions – had divided, even though it didn’t create a major impact during the time of the generations whom the Messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- commended in his saying,
“The best among you is my generation, then the next generation, then the next generation.” (Narrated by Bukhari, 3/3650, 3651 and Muslim 6/part 16 page 86-87 in its explanation by An-Nawawy).
The narrator said, “I don’t know whether the Messenger of Allah mentioned two or three generations after him.”
The reason is because during that time, there were still many of the scholars who were expert in hadith and Qur’an interpretation, as well as in fiqh. They were the scholars from among the tabeen, the students of tabeen, the four imams, and their disciples. Another reason is because the Islamic rulers were still strong at that time, thus the deviant sects which started to grow in it suffered from crushing blowing which disarmed its argumentation and power.
After these commendable centuries had passed, the muslims began to interact and mingle with the followers of other religions.
The science book of other religion’s teaching were translated, and the muslim kings also took some disbelievers as their underlings, plotted them as their ministers and court advisors; hence, the dispute among muslims became even greater, and various kind of sects and teachings mixed even further. Some evil school of thoughts also joined the chaos, aiming to destroy the unity of the ummah. This condition continued until our time today, and next until the time period that Allah wishes. However, we are still grateful to Allah because the saved group, Ahl Sunnah wal Jama’a are still strong upon the truth, the pure teaching of Islam, and enjoin people to it. They even will still upon it forever, as in the hadith of Allah’s messenger about its eternity, continuity, and obstinacy, which all comes from Allah’s favors, in order to maintain the longevity of this religion, and to uphold the right argument against its opponents.
Indeed, this small, blessed group stands upon the path walked by the Messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- and his companions -may Allah be pleased with them all-, in words, deeds, and beliefs, which befits what the Prophet said,
““[Those who follow] the path which I and my companions follow.” (As explained earlier).
Indeed, they are the righteous persons left, from among people about whom Allah had said,
“Why were there no righteous persons among the generations that passed away before you who would forbid others from causing corruption on earth? And if such were there, they were only a few whom We had saved from those generations, or else the wrong-doers kept pursuing the ease and comfort which had been conferred upon them, thus losing themselves in sinfulness.” (Huud:116)