The Imam of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jama'ah
Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal (164-241H) rahimahullah
42 - [
Edited By Aboo Ibrahim
Shaykh Abu AbdullahYahya ibn Abil-Hasan ibn al-Banna narrated to us saying:
My father Abu Ali al-Hasan ibn Umar ibn al-Banna related to us, saying: Abul-
Hussain Ali ibn Muhammad ibn Abdullah ibn Bushran al-Muaddil relatcd to us,
saying: Uthman ibn Ahmad ibn as-Sammak reported to us, saying: Abu
Muhammad al-Husan ibn Abdul-Wahhab, Abun-Nabr narrated to us, reading it
to him from his written copy in the month of Rabi'ul-Awwal, in the year two
hundred and ninety-three (293H), who said: Abu Jafar Muhammad ibn Sulaiman
al-Munqari, in Basrah, related to us, saying: Abdus ibn Malik al-Attar narrated to
me, saying: I heard Abu Abdullah Ahmad ibn Hanbal - radiallahu 'anhu - say:
The Fundamental Principles of the Sunnah with us are:
Holding fast to what the Sahaabah (Companions) of the Messenger of Allah were upon.
Taking them [and their way] as a model to be followed.
The abandonment of al-Bid'ah (innovations),
and every Bid'ah is misguidance.
The abandonment of al-Khusoomaat (controversies).
The abandonment of sitting with the people of al-Ahwaa (desires)
And the abandonment of al-Miraa' (quarrelling), al-Jidaal (argumentation) and al-
Khusoomaat (controversy) in the religion.
And the Sunnah with us are the Aathaar (narrations) of the Messenger of Allah...
And the Sunnah Tufassir (explains and clarifies) the Qur'aan
And it is the Dalaa'il (guide) to the Qur'aan [containing evidences and indications as to its
meanings and correct interpretations].
There is no Qiyaas (reasoning by analogy) in the Sunnah,
and al-Amthaal (examples and likenesses) are not to be made for it.
Nor is it grasped and comprehended by al-`Uqool (the intellect) or al-Ahwaa' (desires).
Rather it consists of al-Ittibaa' (following) [and depending upon] it, and abandoning al-
And from as-Sunnah al-Laazimah (the binding and necessary Sunnah), [that Sunnah]
whoever leaves a single matter from it, has not accepted it [in its totality] and has
not believed in it - he will not be of its people:
To have faith in al-Qadar [the Divine Pre-decree], both its good and its evil.
To affirm the ahaadeeth related to it and to have faith in them. It is not to be said: Lima
(Why)? Or Kaif (How)? It is [but] attestation [to the truthfulness of such ahaadeeth] and
having faith in them.
And whoever does not know the explanation of a hadeeth, and (whose) intellect [does not have
the capacity] to make him understand it, then that would be sufficient [i.e. to just merely affirm
the ahaadeeth and have faith in them] since [everything from the religion] has been perfected for
him. And it is necessary for him to have faith (Emaan) in it and to submit (Tasleem) to
it, like the hadeeth of as-Saadiq (the truthful), al-Masdooq (the believed), and whatever is
similar to it in the matter of al-Qadar
And also like the ahaadeeth regarding the Ru'yah (the believer's seeing Allah, in the
Hereafter), all of them, even if they disagree with people's hearing and even if the one who is
listening to them feels repelled by, and is averse to, them.
Certainly, it is obligatory upon him to have faith in them and not to reject a single word from
them nor from other (such) ahaadeeth, which have been reported by ath-Thiqaat (reliable,
And that he does not argue with anyone, nor dispute, and nor should he learn (about how to
make) al-Jidaal (argumentation) (in such matters).
For indeed, (indulging in) al-Kalaam (theological rhetoric) in the matter of Qadar (Divine
Pre-Decree), the Ru'yah (Seeing Allah), the Qur'an and other such issues are among the
ways that are Makrooh (detested) and which are Manheey (forbidden).
The one who does so, even if he reaches the truth with his words, is not from Ahlus-Sunnah,
until he abandons (using) this mode of argumentation, (and until he) submits and believes in the
Aathaar (the Prophetic Narrations and those of the Companions).
al-Qur'an Kalaamu-llah (The Quran is the Word of Allah). Wa laisa bi-
Makhlooq (And it is not created). And he should not be too weak to declare it is
not created. Indeed, the Word of Allah is not [something] distinct and separate
from Him [i.e., an entity in itself], and nothing of Him is created [i.e. none of
Allahs characteristics, qualities or actions are created].
And beware of argumentation with the one who innovates in this matter and
says that his recitation (al-Lafdh) of the Quran is Makhlooq (created), and
other such claims.
And whoever hesitates in this matter and says: I do not know whether it is created or
not created. It is but the Word of Allah. Then, he is a person of innovation and he is
just like the one who says: It is created. [The truth is that] Indeed, it is the
Word of Allah and it is not created.
To have faith in the Ru'yah (that Allah will be seen) on the Day of Judgement,
as has been reported from the Prophet in the authentic ahaaadeeth.
And that the Prophet saw his Lord, since this has been transmitted from the
Messenger of Allah authentically. It has been reported by Qataadah from
Ikrimah from Ibn Abbass; and al-Hakam ibn Abaan reported it from Ikrimah
from Ibn Abbass; also Alee ibn Zaid reported it from Yoosuf ibn Mahraan
from Ibn Abbass
And the Hadeeth, in our estimation, is to be taken by its apparent meaning [alaa
dhaahiri-hi], as it has come from the Prophet. And indulging in Kalaam
(Theological Rhetoric) with respect to it is Bid'ah (innovation). But, we have
faith in it as it came, upon its apparent meaning, and we do not dispute with
anyone regarding it
And having faith in al-Meezaan (the Balance, i.e. the Weighing) on the Day of
Judgement, just as it has come [to us in the Hadeeth], "A servant will be weighed
on the Day of Judgement and he will not be equal in weight to the wing of a fly." [al-
And the A'maal (actions) of the servants will be weighed, just as has been
reported in the narration. To have faith in it, and to attest to its truthfulness, and
to turn away from whoever rejects that and to abandon argumentation with him.
And that Allah, the Blessed and Exalted, will Speak to the servants (Yukallimu
al-`Ibaad) on the Day of Judgement, without there being a translator
(Tarjumaan) between Him and them; to have faith in this and to attest to its
To have faith in al-Hawd (the Pond/Fountain) and that there is a Hawd for the
Messenger of Allah on the Day of Judgement. His Ummah (Nation) will come to
it (to drink) and its width is equal to the distance traveled in a month. Its
drinking vessels equaling the number of stars in the sky [and this is] in
accordance with the narrations that are authentic in this regard, from more than
one chain (of narrators).
To have faith in `Adhaab al-Qabr (Punishment of the Grave) and that this
Ummah will be put to trial in their graves and will be questioned about Emaan and
Islaam. About who is his Lord? Who is his Prophet?
And that Munkar and Nakeer will come to him, [all of that] in whatever way
Allaah wills and in whatever way He desires. To have faith in that and to attest
to its truthfulness.
To have faith in Ash-Shafaa'ah (the Intercession) of the Prophet, and [to have
faith] that some people will be brought out of the Fire after they have been
burnt therein and reduced to charcoal. [That] it will be ordered for them to be
placed in a river by the door of Paradise, as has been reported in the narration,
[all of that] however Allaah wills and in whatever way Allaah wills. Indeed, it is
to have faith in it and to attest to its truthfulness.
To have faith that Maseeh ad-Dajjaal (Anti-Christ) is to come, there being
written between his eyes, Kaafir. And [to have faith] in the Ahaadeeth which
have come [to us] regarding him. And to have faith that this will happen.
And [to have faith] that `Isaa [ibn Maryam] will descend and will kill him (ad-
Dajjaal) at the gate of Ludd.
And that Emaan (Faith) consists of [both] Qawl (speech) and `Amal (action), it
Yazeed (increases) and Yanqus (decreases) as has been reported in the
narration, "The most complete of the believers with respect to Imaan (Faith) is the best of
them in his Khuluq (character, manners)."
And whoever abandons the prayer, then he has disbelieved. There is nothing
from among the actions, the abandonment of which constitutes disbelief, except
for the prayer. Whoever abandons it is a disbeliever and Allah has made killing
And the best of this Ummah after its Prophet is Aboo Bakr as-Siddeeq, then `Umar ibn
al-Khattaab, then `Uthmaan ibn `Affaan.
We give precedence to those three just as the Companions of the Messenger of
Allah gave precedence to them. They [the Companions] never differed in that.
Then after those three, (the Five Companions of the Shooraa): Alee ibn Abu
Taalib, az-Zubair, Talhah, Abdur-Rahmaan ibn Awf and Sa'd ibn Abee
Waqqaas, each of them was fitting and appropriate for khilaaafah and each for
them was an Imaam [leader].
: ( :
In this regard we take the hadeeth of Ibn Umar, We used to consider, while the
Messenger of Allaah was alive and his Companions widespread: Aboo Bakr [to be first], then
`Umar, then `Uthmaan - and then we remained quiet.'
Then, after Ashaab ash-Shoorah (the Five Companions of the Shooraa Council),
are the people who fought in Badr from among the Muhaajiroon. And then
those who fought in Badr from among the Ansaar, from among the
Companions of the Messenger of Allaah [each ones rank is] according to his
Hijrah (migration) and Saabiqah (precedence) [in entering Islam].
Then, the most superior of mankind after these: the Sahaabah (other
Companions) of the Messenger of Allaah, the generation in which he was sent.
Everyone who accompanied him, whether for a year, a month, a day, an hour or
[just merely] saw him, then he is from among his Companions. His
companionship is according to the extent to which he accompanied him, [and to
the extent to which] he had precedence in being with him, heard from him and
looked at him.
So the least of them in as-Suhbah (companionship) to him are more excellent
than the generation which did not see him, even if they met Allaah with all the
[good] actions; despite that, those who accompanied the Prophet, saw him and
heard from him [are superior].
And whoever saw him with his eyes, and believed in him, even if for an hour, is
more excellent, on account of this companionship [with the Prophet], than the
Taabi'een, even if they [the Taabi'een] did every action of goodness.
And hearing and obeying the leaders [A'immah] and the Ameerul-Mu'mineen,
whether Barr (righteous) or Faajir (sinful), from among those who come into
power with the Khilaafah (governing authority) and with respect to whom the
people have agreed and united themselves and are pleased with him
And also [hearing and obeying the one] who fought against the people with the
sword [i.e. conquered them] until he became the Khaleefah and was named the
Participation in battles along with the leaders [Umaraa'], be they righteous or
sinful, is an everlasting affair up [i.e. always operative] until the Day of
It is never to be abandoned. [Likewise] the division of the spoils of war and
appointing the rulers [A'immah] to establish the prescribed punishments
[Hudood] are [both] everlasting. It is not permissible for anyone to
defame/discredit them or to challenge them [i.e. the rulers authority].
Also, handing over the charity to them [the Rulers] is permissible and always
operative [in effect]. Whoever gives the charity to them then that will suffice
him [i.e. his obligation will have been fulfilled], whether righteous of sinful.
And performing the Jumu'ah prayer behind him [the Ruler] and behind
whomever he appoints is a permissible and perfect [act] and [consists of] two
rak'ahs. Whoever repeats them [after praying behind him] is a Mubtadi'
(innovator), one who abandons the narrations and an opposer of the Sunnah.
He receives nothing [of reward] from the excellence of his [attendance of] the
Jumu'ah prayer, if he does not accept and hold that prayer is to be observed
behind the leaders, whomever they may be, the righteous amongst them and the
sinful amongst them.
So the Sunnah is that he prayers two rak'ahs with them. [Whoever repeats them
is an innovator], and that he acknowledges that they are perfect and complete,
not having any doubt in his heart regarding that
And whoever revolts (al-Khurooj) against a leader from among the leaders of
the Muslims, after the people had agreed upon him and united themselves
behind him, after they had affirmed the khilaafah (governing authority) for him,
in whatever way this khilaafah may have been, by ar-Ridaa (their pleasure and
acceptance) or by Al-Ghalaba (his force and domination) [over them], then this
revolter has divided the Muslims, and has contradicted the narrations of the
Messenger of Allah. And if the one who revolted against the ruler died he
would have died the Death of Ignorance (Meetatan Jaahileeyatan
And Qitaal as-Sultaan (fighting the one in power) is not lawful, and nor is it
permissible for anyone amongst the people al-Khurooj (revolting) against him.
Whoever does that is an innovator, [and is] not upon the Sunnah and the
Tareeq [correct] path
Fighting against the thieves (Lusoos) and the revolters (Khawaarij) is
permissible. That is, when they set upon a man with respect to his person and
his wealth. It is then permissible for him to fight [and defend] himself and his
property and to repel [the thieves and the revolters] from them both [i.e. himself
and his property] with everything that is within his capacity.
But it is not permissible for him, when they depart from him or abandon him,
that he seeks them [i.e. to find them]. Nor should he follow their tracks and this
is not [permissible] for anyone other than the Imaam (leader) or those charged
with authority over the Muslims.
It is only for him to defend himself in his own place and he should intend, by his
striving against them, that he will not kill anyone. But if he kills him whilst
defending himself in the battle, then Allaah will make the one killed far removed
[from Himself and from any goodness]. And if he [himself] is killed in that
state, whilst he is defending himself and his property, then I hope that it is
martyrdom for him, as occurred in the hadeeth.
And all of the narrations in this regard have ordered with fighting him, but did not
order killing him, nor pursuing him and nor finishing him off should he fall to the
ground or become wounded.
And if he took him as a captive he should not kill him and should not carry out
the prescribed punishment against him, but rather, he should raise his matter to
whomever Allaah has appointed and given authority so that he may judge in the
And we do not testify for anyone from among the people of the Qiblah, on
account of an action that he has done, that he is in Paradise or in Hell-Fire. We
have hope for the righteous one and we fear for him and we fear for the evil and
sinful person and we hope for the mercy of Allaah for him.
And whoever meets Allaah with a sin, which would necessitate the Fire for him,
having repented, not returning back to it and [not] being insistent upon it then
Allaah, [the Mighty and Magnificent] will turn to him (in forgiveness). And
Allaah accepts repentance from His servants and forgives the evil actions.
And whoever meets Him after having had the prescribed punishment meted
out to him for that [particular] sin in this world, then that would be its expiation
as occurs in the narration from the Messenger of Allaah.
And whoever meets him having persisted upon (sin), and not repented from
the sins which necessitate punishment, then his affair is with Allaah [the Mighty
and Magnificent] if He wills He will punish Him and if He wills He will forgive
And whoever meets Him as a disbeliever, He will punish him and will not
And ar-Rajm (stoning to death) [which is true and correct] is the rightful due of
the one who has fortified [himself/herself] with marriage] and commits Zina
(illegal sexual intercourse), either when he/she confesses [to this act] or when the
evidence is established against him/her.
And whoever Intaqasa (disparages and degrades) a single one of the Ashaabu
Rasooli-llah (Companions of the Messenger of Allaah) or Abghada (dislikes)
him on account of something that occurred from him, or mentions his
Masaawi'a (shortcomings), then he is and Mubtadi' (innovator
[He remains as such] until he asks for Allaahs mercy (Rahmah) for them, all of
them and [until] his heart is Saleem (sincere and free of evil) towards them.
And An-Nifaaq (hypocrisy) - it is al-Kufr (disbelief): that a person disbelieves in
Allaah and worships other than Him [inwardly], [but] he manifests Islaam openly,
like the Munaafiqoon (hypocrites) in the time of the Messenger of Allaah
)) (( :
And his saying, "In whomsoever there are three [characteristics] he is a hypocrite..." is
at-Taghleedh (intensification) [in expression]. We report it as it has come and
we do not explain it.
)) (( :
And [likewise] his saying. "Do not become disbelievers after me, [astray], striking the
necks of each other.
And, "When two Muslims meet with their swords then [both] the killer and the killed are in
And, "Cursing a Muslim is wickedness and fighting against him is disbelief
And, "Whoever says to his brother, `O Disbeliever,' then it returns back to one of them.
And, "It is disbelief in Allaah, the one who denies his kinship, even if [he thinks] it is
We submit to it, even if we do not know its explanation. We do not talk about
it. We do not argue about it. And we do not explain these ahaadeeth except with
the like of what they [the ahaadeeth ] have come with [i.e. similar Hadith which