Compiled, Translated and Annotated
Abu Khuzaimah Ansari
Allah The Most High said:
“Follow, [O mankind], what has been revealed to you from your Rabb and do not follow any other helpers. Little do you remember.” (Surah al-A’raf:3)
and Allah says
“…So ask the people of the Zikr if you do not know.” (Surah al-Nahl:43, Surah al-Anbiya:7
The Salafi Albanian Scholar of Hadith said while explaining this ayah:
“What does “and do not follow any other helpers” mean? Well it means not to venerate people such that you follow them to an extent that they receive revelation from heaven, just like and in the same manner you follow the Messenger of Allah Sallalahu Alayhi Wasallam.” (Mu’assash al-Albani Fi’l Aqidah, 2:91)
This is why some scholars are of the view that following anyone other than the Messenger of Allah Sallalahu Alayhi Wasallam is tantamount to Shirk.
There are various wordings for a hadith, which essentially give similar meanings while elucidating a particular understanding. The wording from Imam al-Tabrizi’s Mishkat is:
وَعَنْ جَابِرٌ عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ حِينَ أَتَاهُ عُمَرُ فَقَالَ إِنَّا نَسْمَعُ أَحَادِيثَ مِنْ يَهُودَ تُعْجِبُنَا أَفْتَرَى أَنْ نَكْتُبَ بَعْضَهَا؟ فَقَالَ أَمُتَهَوِّكُونَ أَنْتُمْ كَمَا تَهَوَّكَتِ الْيَهُودُ وَالنَّصَارَى؟ لَقَدْ جِئْتُكُمْ بِهَا بَيْضَاءَ نَقِيَّةً وَلَوْ كَانَ مُوسَى حَيًّا مَا وَسِعَهُ إِلَّا اتِّبَاعِي )رَوَاهُ أَحْمد وَالْبَيْهَقِيّ فِي شعب الايمان(
On the authority of Jabir ibn ‘Abd Allah RadiAllahu Anhu from the Prophet Sallalahu Alayhi Wasallam who said: ‘Umar came to me and said: ‘We hear reports from the Jews which surprise us, do you permit that we write some of them down? He Sallalahu Alayhi Wasallam said: ‘Are you also surprised with our Din just as the Jews and Christians are with theirs, for indeed I have come to you with a Din [or Shari’ah] that is bright and clear, and even if Musa was alive [today], he would have no option except to follow me.’ (Transmitted by Ahmad and al-Bayhaqi in Shu’bal Iman)
There are other wordings of this hadith, which are:
It was narrated from Jabir ibn ‘Abd Allah RadiAllahu Anhu that ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab RadiAllahu Anhu came to the Prophet Sallalahu Alayhi Wasallam and said O Rasulullah! I have a good book from the people of the book He read it to the Prophet Sallalahu Alayhi Wasallam became angry and said: ‘Are you being careless, O son of al-Khattab? By the One in Whose hand is my soul, I have bought Islam to you bright and clear. Do not ask them about anything, and they tell you something which is true but you disbelieve it, or they tell you something false and you believe it. By the One in Whose hand is my soul, if Musa were alive, he would have no choice but to follow me.’
And another wording is
Once Umar ibn al-Khattab RadiAllahu Anhu met a Jewish person. The Jewish person showed him a passage from the Torah which amazed Umar, so he took a copy for himself. He then came to the Messenger of Allah Sallalahu Alayhi Wasallam with this passage from the Torah and read it out to him. The Prophet Sallalahu Alayhi Wasallam became angry and said, “Are you confused over this, O son of al-Khattab?” He Sallalahu Alayhi Wasallam then said, “I swear by the One Who has my soul in His Hand, I have come to you with something clear and bright. Do not ask them (the People of the Book) about anything, lest they inform you of the truth and you reject it, or they inform you of falsehood and you believe in it. I swear by the One Who has my soul in His Hand, if Musa (Alayhis Salam) were alive today, he would have no choice but to follow me.’
The first version is transmitted by Imam al-Tabrizi in his Mishkat al-Masabih, no.177, while citing it from Ahmad, Musnad, 3:387, no.15223, al-Bayhaqi, Shu’bal Iman, no.176. It is referenced to al-Darimi, Sunan, 1:115-116 no.441, al-Bazzar, Musnad, no.124 – Kashf al-Astar, Abd al-Razzaq, Musannaf, no.10163-10164, Ibn Abi Shaybah, Musannaf, no.26949, also cited by Abu Ubayd in Gharib al-Hadith.
The Grading of the Hadith is Hasan
There is a narrator in the one of chains who is weak, yet the report has supporting narrations which are although weak, overall raise the rank of the hadith to Hasan. For supporting narrations refer to al-Ruwyani, 1:175 no.225 and others.
The hanafi scholar and researcher, admired by the current day rejuvenated hanafi madhhabists, Shaykh Muhammad Awwamah also asserts, the different versions of the hadith collectively strengthen and support each other and thus prove its reliability. Muhammad Awwamah, Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah footnote to no.26949.
Hafiz Ibn Hajr bring the chains of the variant routes and says:
‘These are all of the chains for this hadith, although they do not reach a good reliable standard for evidence (individually), when all of them are put together, while supporting each other, then it must be considered that there is a good basis for the [authenticity] of this report.’ (Fath al-Bari, 13:525.
Shaykh al-Albani graded the hadith Hasan in his al-Irwa al-Ghalil, 6:34 no.1589, Silsilah Ahadith al-Sahihah, no.3207 and in his checking of Mishkat, no.177.
Shaykh al-Albani brings another variant wording which states:
I swear by the One in whose hand my soul is in, if Musa was to come among you and you followed him while leaving me [i.e. my way], then in deed you would be misguided, for you are a part of me from amongst the nations and I am a part of you from amongst the Prophets.’ (Silsilah Ahadith al-Sahihah, 7:628, no.3207)
Shaykh al-Albani explains this hadith and brings some detailed intricate points that leave an intense impression, he said:
“So when it is Musa Alayhis Salam, whom Allah spoke to directly and upon whom the Tawrat was revealed, so even if he was present during the time of the Messenger of Allah Sallalahu Alayhi Wasallam, then he also would have no choice or option except to follow him. So, how about those who are not Prophets or Messengers? Therefore, this empathically obligates necessity in following the Messenger of Allah Sallalahu Alayhi Wasallam, but what is the meaning of following the Messenger? Its meaning is the same meaning as that of worship, but what does the worship of Allah mean? The worship of Allah means to worship Allah alone without any partners and not to worship anything else, so what does following the Messenger mean? It means to only follow him and not to follow others in the same way.” (Mu’assash al-Albani Fi’l Aqidah, 2:89)
This hadith is also a strong evidence for refuting the myth of mentioning the good of the people of innovation with the bad i.e. muwazanah. We all know the status and rank of the remarkable Companion and the second Caliph of Islam, Umar bin al-Khattab RadiAllahu Anhu and how on numerous occasions ayahs of the Qur’an were revealed. When even he is reprimanded for saying, should we write the good from the people of the book and how he was reprimanded by the Messenger of Allah Sallalahu Alayhi Wasallam and the words he used to explain to him.
With this in mind also remember, Umar bin al-Khattab RadiAllahu Anhu was instructed like this despite the commonality between us and the people of the Book when Allah, The Most High said:
“Say, “O People of the Scripture, come to a word that is equitable between us and you – that we will not worship except Allah and not associate anything with Him and not take one another as lords instead of Allah.” But if they turn away, then say, “Bear witness that we are Muslims [submitting to Him].” (Surah al-Imran:64)
Then how about all the ayat that mention the protection and preservation of the Din and combining this with the central pillar of Maqasid al-Shari’ah of preserving the Din. And what of the innumerable ahadith in censure, reprimand, warning, punishment and threat against innovations and the innovators. And what of the hundreds and hundreds of statements of the pious ancestors, expounding and clarifying the position of Ahl al-Sunnah on the innovators and their innovations by way of corruption and evil they spread throughout the ummah.
Wa Lillahil Hamd, this is the way and methodology of Ahl al-Sunnah, the Salafis, the Ahl a-Hadith and by Allah it is clear, pure and radiant like the Sun, whoever wants to take it, then take it and be guided and whoever wants to abandon it, then seek refuge in Allah.