Sahīh Bukhārī –:– Kitāb ul-ʾItisām Bil-Kitāb Was-Sunnah – Book Of Holding Firmly To The Book (Qurān) And Sunnah – Part 1

Sahīh Bukhārī

Kitāb ul-ʾItisām Bil-Kitāb Was-Sunnah

Book Of Holding Firmly To The Book (Qurān) And Sunnah 

Part 1

Compiled by Abu Ubaydah

Kirmānī said that the title for this book has been taken from the ayāh:

“And hold firmly to Allah’s rope (of guidance) all together.” [Aal-Imrān ayāh no.301]

This is because the meaning of rope is the Book (Qurān) and Sunnah, they are both synonymous with the word rope in the context of being the true means of connecting with Allah’s guidance, reward and Punishment. [Fatḥ ul-Bārī Sharh Sahīh ul-Bukhārī vol 13, pg no.245]

The meaning of al-ʾItisām is, to hold firmly onto something. [Mufradāt ul-Qurān, vol 2, pg no.141]

The meaning of al-Habl is a rope. Just as it is mentioned in the Qurān,

“There will be a rope made from a date tree around her neck.” [al-Masad ayāh no.5]

Additionally just as an artery looks similar to a rope, in the Qurān Allah mentions arteries (jugular veins) as ropes,

“Jugular vein.” [Qāf ayāh no.50]

al-Habl is also used as a synonym to mean connecting, and any such thing which allows you to reach something else is also called al-Habl. It has also been used to mean a covenant or treaty, as mentioned in the Qurān,

“They have been put under humiliation (by Allah) wherever they are overtaken except for a covenant from Allah and a treaty from the Muslims…” [Aal-Imrān ayāh no.112]

[Mufradāt ul-Qurān, vol 1, pg no.233]

The intended meaning of Book in the title here by Imam Bukhārī is the Qurān. The Messenger of Allah (Ṣallalāhū ʿAlaīhī Wa Sallam) said,

“The Sūrah (Faṭihah) al-Ḥamdūllilāh is the mother of the Qurān and the mother of the Book.” [Sunan at-Tirmīdhī, vol 5, Book 44 no.3124, graded Sāhīh by Dārusalām]

In another narration The Messenger of Allah (Ṣallalāhū ʿAlaīhī Wa Sallam) embraced Abdullah Bin Abbas (Rādī Allāhū Anhū) and said,

“O Allah! teach him the wisdom and the interpretation of the Book.” [Sunan Ibn Mājah, vol 1, Book 1, no.166, graded Sāhīh by Dārusalām] 

In another narration instead of Book the word is Qurān,

“O Allah! teach him the interpretation of the Qurān.” [Mustadrak al-Hākim, vol 4, pg no.692, declared to have a Sahīh chain by Hākim]

The linguistic meaning of the Qurān is from the root word Qa-ra-aʾ / Yaq-ra-ū which is based on the balance of Fuʾ-lā-nun. It means to collect or a collection, then this word was used to mean to read because stories, commands and prohibitions were collected in it. [Līsān ul-ʾArab, vol 1, pg 128, 129] 

The Qurān is the speech of Allah not the speech of the creation. It was revealed upon Muhammad (Ṣallalāhū ʿAlaīhī Wa Sallam) and it’s recitation is part of worship. The Qurān is a book which is read and the letters alīf and nūn at the end of the word Qurān are for making the word eloquent therefore its further meaning is, that book is which is read numerously. It is also said that the reason for the Qurān being named the Qurān  is in order to refute the disbelieving Arabs who said as stated by Allah in the Qurān,

“Do not listen to this Qurān, rather make noises and disruptions whilst it is being read so that you may overcome.” [Ḥa Mīm as-Sajdāh ayāh no.26]

The meaning of as-Sunnah is a way, path, methodology or process as explained, 

“And you will never find in the way of Allah any alteration.” [Fātir ayāh no.43]

[Mufradāt ul-Qurān, vol 1, pg no.532]

The intended meaning by Imām Bukhārī is the Sunnah of the Prophet (Ṣallalāhū ʿAlaīhī Wa Sallam) and the meaning of that is whatsoever is attributed to him (Ṣallalāhū ʿAlaīhī Wa Sallam) in terms of his (Ṣallalāhū ʿAlaīhī Wa Sallam) sayings, actions or acknowledgments and if you wish you can also include his attributes. Then whatsoever is attributed to the Messenger (Ṣallalāhū ʿAlaīhī Wa Sallam) etc. and is authentic from him then it is called the Sunnah. It is obligatory to follow and hold onto the Qurān and the Sunnah because of Allah’s saying,

“And if you disagree over anything, refer it to Allah and the Messenger, if you should believe in Allah and the Last day.” [an-Nīsā ayāh no.59]

And don’t think that returning to them is harmful, even if it is initially difficult or people imagine that it is harmful because Allah says,

“That is the best (way) and best in result.”  [an-Nīsā ayāh no.59]

i.e. the best outcome. As for the delusional saying of some people, who have weak faith nowadays, that implementing the Sharʾīa which the Prophet (Ṣallalāhū ʿAlaīhī Wa Sallam) came with does not fit in the era we are in and they fear disagreeing with the non-muslim countries, then that is from the whispers of Shaytān. [Sharh Sāhīh Bukhārī of Ibn Uthaymīn, vol 10, pg no.51]

The word Iʾtisām comes under the Arabic pattern Iftiʾāl and the root word that it comes from is ʾIsmāh which means and indicates to prevent or protect something or preserve something. The Arabs use this word in the following example:

when water is required to be drawn out from a well, something is required between you and the water, which is the rope. It is not possible to extract the water unless there is a means and this is done by holding firmly onto the the rope in order to draw the water out. In the same way if someone is in a fire or is drowning in water you would throw them the rope as a means of rescuing them. This is the meaning we apply when holding fast to something and it is the expression which is explained in:

“And hold firmly to Allah’s rope (of guidance) all together.” [Aal-Imrān ayāh no.301]

That holding onto the Qurān and Sunnah is the means of being successful. The scholars and the people of knowledge have consensus that there is no way for a person to be protected or saved except by holding onto the Qurān and Sunnah. There is no proof except that it is reported in the Book of Allah and the authentic Sunnah. As for other things there isn’t in Islam an independent source except that they have a source in these two things. Everything else that we have is a source for rulings which falls under these two. For example Ijmʾā is a proof but it is not independent of these two things, it does not give us a brand new ruling, which has no basis in these two. It explains to us what the ruling is but does not instigate a brand new ruling in and of itself, rather it comes back to these two sources.

For this reason when speaking about holding fast the scholars didn’t speak about holding fast to consensus or analogy because they were under and part of the original two, Qurān and Sunnah, and the highest form of them is the understanding of them by the companions and Salaf. However this is not a source of Islamic rulings which we understand independently it is simply a means in which we understand the Qurān and Sunnah.

We extract the rulings in the correct way in which the Prophet (Ṣallalāhū ʿAlaīhī Wa Sallam) explained it to us. The means through which we do that is through the understanding of the early generations. The meaning of following and limiting yourself to what the early generations followed, the most prominent among them are the noble companions, falls under following the Qurān and Sunnah. Ibn Baṭāl has said the only way to save yourself from committing mistakes is by the following the Qurān and Sunnah or the Ijmʾā of the scholars which is in accordance to the Qurān and Sunnah. [Fatḥ ul-Bārī Sharh Sahīh ul-Bukhārī vol 13, pg no.246]

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