The Sunnah is Indivisible

As published in 1436 [2015] Edition of AnNur Magazine of the Muslim Students of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife.

In the Name of Allâh the Most Merciful the Most Gracious

All praise to Allâh, the Mighty Lord. I bear the testimony that there is none worthy of worship except Allâh and I bear the testimony that Muhammad is His Messenger. To proceed:

Allâh the Mighty Lord says:

وَأَنَّ هَذَا صِرَاطِي مُسْتَقِيمًا فَاتَّبِعُوهُ وَلا تَتَّبِعُوا السُّبُلَ فَتَفَرَّقَ بِكُمْ عَنْ سَبِيلِهِ ذَلِكُمْ وَصَّاكُمْ بِهِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ "And Verily, this is my straight path, so follow it, and follow not (other) paths, for they will separate you away from His Path. This He has ordained for you that you may become pious." [Al-An’aam: 153].

The Messenger of Allâh [SallaLlâhu alayhi wa sallam] said:

افْتَرَقَتِ الْيَهُودُ عَلَى إِحْدَى وَسَبْعِينَ فِرْقَةً، وَافْتَرَقَتِ النَّصَارَى عَلَى اثْنَتَيْنِ وَسَبْعِينَ فِرْقَةً، وَالَّذِي نَفْسِي بِيَدِهِ لَتَفْتَرِقَنَّ أُمَّتِي عَلَى ثَلاثٍ وَسَبْعِينَ فِرْقَةً

‘The Jews have broken into 71 sects, the Christians 72 sects, and by Him in Whose Hand is my sould, my Ummah shall surely break into 73 sects...’ (As-Sahîhah: 203).

In our community today, many people have created many identities for the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allâh [SallaLlâhu alayhi wa sallam]. Many of those identities are ideological while a same trait is seemingly created among all. For instance there are some Muslims today who are visibly upon the Sunnah but ideologically away from it.

To correct that general misconception, the Sunnah of the best of the Messengers [SallaLlâhu alayhi wa sallam] is not reduced to a man wearing a pair of trousers above his ankles, sporting some massive or otherwise beard, adorning a Kaftanic cloth that is often times matched with a skull cap and sometimes, a turban. Or if the woman, her moving about in an overflowing gown (Jilbaab) that sometimes may be coupled with a face-veil (Niqâb). For Allâh sake, the Sunnah is not reduced to that.

The basis of the Sunnah is the ideological perception a Muslim has about the creed of Islâm. This is what is called Al-Aqeedah. What follows that is Manhaj (the methodology of enthroning the Islamic ethics), ‘Ibaadah (worship), Sulook (manners), Akhlaaq (character), Da’wah (call), Fiqh (jurisprudence), etc. All of these must conform to ‘what the Messenger of Allâh and the Companions were upon’, that is what is basically referred to as As-Salafiyyah which encapsulates the Sunnah in Islam.

All the ingredients mentioned in the last paragraph are what combine to make one a true follower of the Sunnah – a Salafee. Thus when a man exhibits the outward show of the ethics of Islam such as the manners of clothing, like the ones mentioned in the beginning of this piece, but is devoid of the main ingredients of the Sunnah, he is not a follower of the Sunnah even if he gorgeously looks like one.

If one can exhibit the traits of the ethics, which sometimes are obligatory such as the forbiddance of a man wearing his trousers beyond the ankles, and the obligation of a woman adorning the face-veil (in the best of the views, and Allâh knows best), while he has the correct creed and belief about Islam, such a person is a true follower of the Sunnah.

As a summary of what a Muslim should believe in as far as the correct ‘Aqeedah of Islam is concerned, we like to reproduce some of what is contained in Aqeedah At-Tahâwiyyah of Al-Imâm Abu Ja’far At-Tahâwî – may Allâh show mercy upon him:

‘That Allâh is One, He has no partners nor anyone like Him...He has power over everything while everything is in need of Him...He created the creation with His Knowledge and ordained their lots for them...He knew what they would do (on earth) before He created them yet He commanded them to obey Him and forbade them from disobeying Him, everything goes according to His Pre-destination and Will, His Will must be done, His slaves have no will except what He allows for them, it is whatever He allows for them that will be and otherwise...

‘He guides whomever He wishes, He protects (in faith) out of His Bounties but misleads, disgraces and tries whomever He wishes, out of His Justice. Everyone moves within His Will, between His Grace and Justice.

‘And that Muhammad is His slave, His select...he is the last of the Prophets...every claim of prophethood after him is false and misguidance. He is sent to all the jinns and men, with the truth and guidance...

‘And that the Qur’aan is the Word of Allâh. It came from Him with no manner, as a word, but He revealed it to His Mesnsger as a wahy, and the believers believed in it as the truth, and that it is the Word of Allâh the Mighty in reality, not a creation like the words of the creatures. Whoever therefore thinks is a word of the creature has disbelieved...

‘Whoever describes Allâh with one of the human attributes has also disbelieved...

‘And that Allâh will be seen is true, by the people of Jannah, without any means or manner, just as the Book of our Lord has put it: ‘Some faces will be gladdened that day, when they look at their Lord’ [Al-Qiyaamah: 22-23]...we shall not attempt to explain that away with our thoughts or desires...

‘The Mi’raaj (ascension of the Messenger to the Heavens) is true. The Prophet [SallaLlâhu alayhi wa sallam] was taken on a travel and was made to ascend the heavens in his person while awake, then he was led where Allâh wanted him to be led, then Allâh exalted him with what He willed and revealed to him what He wanted...

‘And that the Pond with which Allâh has raised the station of the Messenger, and which is a spring for his Ummah, is true.

‘And that the [right of] Intercession which He has kept for them is true, as it has come in the reports...

‘Allâh the Mighty knows continuously the number of those that will enter the Jannah so also the number of those that will enter the hell, as a whole. The number cannot be exceeded or decreased...The basis of Qadar (pre-destination) is the secret of Allâh the Mighty about His creatures, no close angel knows it or any chosen Prophet, engaging in much debates about it is a means to disgrace, a ladder to loss and a step to rebelliousness...

‘We also believe in the Lauh (the Slate upon which the Qadar was written) and the Pen (that wrote it); everything there had been pre-numbered. If all the creation were to gather over a matter Allâh had decreed would be, while they attempt to make it impossible, they will never be able to...the (ink of) the Pen is dry...

‘Al-Ar’sh [The Throne] and Al-Kursiyy [The Footstool] are true. He is independent of the Throne and what is beside It. He encompasses everything and above...

‘We say, indeed Allâh took [Prophet] Ibrâhîm as a friend and spoke with [Prophet] Musa in reality. We believe in that with full faith...

‘We believe in the angels and the prophets as well as the Books revealed upon the Messengers, we bear the testimony that they are upon clear-cut truth.

‘We say those who face our Qiblah are Muslims and Mu’minûn so far they are upon what the Prophet had come with...

‘We shall never argue with anyone as regards the Qur’aan we rather testify it is the Book of the Lord of the worlds...

‘We shall never declare anyone as a Kâfir among those who face our Qiblah due to any sin committed by him so far he did not legitimise the sin.

‘We do not say sins do not have effect on Eemaan for whoever commits a sin...

‘We hope for the doers of good among the believers that Allâh will pardon them and make them enter the Jannah out of His Mercy, we do not however be sure that they have no case to answer nor shall we vouch the Jannah for them, we will rather seek forgiveness for the sinners among them while we are apprehensive about them...

‘That a slave will not leave Eemaan until he disputes what has brought him into it.

‘Eemaan is attestation by the tongue and confirmation by the limbs... ‘Those guilty of Major Sins in the Ummah of Muhammad will be in the Hell but not forever, that, if they die while they believe in the Oneness of Allâh even if they did not repent from their sins...

‘We see the permissibility of observing prayers behind every righteous and sinful person in the Ummah, so also praying over whomever dies among them...

‘We do not see the permissibility of waging war against any member of the Ummah of Muhammad except whoever warrants it, neither do we see the permissibility of fighting against our leaders and rulers even if they were to be unjust; we will not invoke against them nor leave off obedience to them...

‘We will follow the Sunnah and the Jamâ’ah [that is, the Companions], we will shun individualism, dichotomy and sectarianism...

‘We believe in the permissibility of wiping over the leather socks whether on a journey or at home, as it has come in the narrations...

‘Allâh shows displeasures and happiness but not like anyone among the creation.

‘We love the Companions of the Messenger of Allâh and we shall never go to the extreme with respect to the love we have for them, we shall not disavow of anyone among them, we hate whomever hates them, and who do not mention them with goodness...the love of the Companions is an indication of religion, faith and goodness while hating them is unbelief, hypocrisy and rebelliousness...

‘The scholars of the gone times among the first believers and those who came after them are people of goodness and narrations...they should be mentioned with good, whoever mentions them with evil is not upon the good path...

‘We believe in the Signs of the Hour: appearance of the Dajjaal, Descent of Îsa bn Maryam from the heavens; we also believe in the rising of the sun from its west so also the appearance of the beasts from their places...

‘We will not believe in a soothsayer or in a sorcerer, nor anyone that claims anything that opposes the Qur’ân and Sunnah and the Ijmâ of the Ummah...

‘That the religion of Allâh on earth and in the heaven is one, that is the religion of Islâm...

‘We ask Allâh the Mighty to make us firm upon faith and that He should make us end upon that, that He should protect us from desires, faulty views and dirty schools-of-thought such as that of Al-Mushabihah [those who liken Allâh with His creation whether in Tashbeeh or Takyeef], Al-Mu’tazilah [those who based the religion on reasoning and logic], Al-Jahmiyyah [those who deny the Attributes of Allâh established in the Qur’ân and Sunnah], Al-Jabariyyah [the fatalists who say man has no will], Al-Qadariyyah [those who deny Allâh’s knowledge about what will become of His slaves], and many others among those who oppose the Qur’ân and the Sunnah but court misguidance. We announce our freedom from them. To us, they are misguided and lowly.

‘With Allâh lies all security and safety.’

So look around those who claim the Sunnah today and see if they are really upon it!

The Tableeghis say they are upon the Sunnah, ask them if their Aqeedah is the same as the above. The Boko Haram say they are upon the Sunnah, see if they have not declared the Muslims as unbelievers and therewith shed their blood. The off-shoots from The Muslim Brotherhood say they are upon the Sunnah, check closely if they have not rebelled against the Muslim rulers.

To claim the Sunnah is easy but the litmus is there for all. So irrespective of the identities many Muslims create for the Sunnah, only one identity is acceptable: what the Messenger of Allâh and his Companions were upon in terms of belief, manners, character, worship, call, etc.

We pray Allâh make us among the true followers of the Sunnah and the Jamâ’ah.

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