Compiled, Translated and Annotated
Abu Khuzaimah Ansari
The Ahl al-Hadith have always displayed a clear and pristine methodology, a methodology they acted upon, taught and passed down to their students. Let the reader not be confused with the two or three liner snippets which show a distorted representation of the methodology of our scholars. Such presentations show the deep understanding and the great insight our scholars possessed, which should not be conflated with a negligent and lenient approach to methodology.
The scholars of Ahl al-Hadith were fervent and unreserved when it came to matters of the Sunnah. Using oblique examples of the co-operation of the Ahl al-Hadith and Salafi Scholars with the people of innovation, based on national interests of the Muslims in a particular country or region is indeed the most negligent of examples to prove points of practise and methodology.
Someone asked Shaykh Ubaydullah Rehmani Mubarakpuri (d.1414H)
QUESTION: What is the ruling on acting on something that opposes the Sunnah, making the excuse that it is for the greater good (Maslaha) and unity while the general people and the Ahl al-Hadith remain silent on the matter, also what is the ruling on participating in it (i.e. such acts of unity that oppose the Sunnah)?
ANSWER: Acting on something that opposes the Sunnah, i.e. acting on innovations and participating in such things (events), remaining silent despite having the power (to rectify) on the basis of some worldly good or for the reason that unity remains intact between each other so that differences don’t arise, is a reprehensible thing and an evil act.
Committing acts of innovation are tantamount to reckless sinning and remaining silent on such matters is compromising the Din, both of which are prohibited. It is indeed a great crime if the scholars and the general people have the ability and power to command the good and change evil but chose to remain silent. This is because commanding the good and forbidding the evil is an obligation of the Din.
Also, while giving daw’ah it is obligatory to act on:
ادْعُ إِلَىٰ سَبِيلِ رَبِّكَ بِالْحِكْمَةِ وَالْمَوْعِظَةِ الْحَسَنَةِ وَجَادِلْهُم بِالَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ
“Invite (people) to the Way of your Rabb with wisdom and fair preaching, and argue with them in a way that is better…” (Surah al-Nahl, 16:125)
عَنْ جَرِيرٍ، قَالَ سَمِعْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَقُولُ مَا مِنْ رَجُلٍ يَكُونُ فِي قَوْمٍ يُعْمَلُ فِيهِمْ بِالْمَعَاصِي يَقْدِرُونَ عَلَى أَنْ يُغَيِّرُوا عَلَيْهِ فَلاَ يُغَيِّرُوا إِلاَّ أَصَابَهُمُ اللَّهُ بِعَذَابٍ مِنْ قَبْلِ أَنْ يَمُوتُوا
Narrated Jabir ibn Abdullah RadhiAllahu Anhu: The Prophet (ﷺ) said: If any man is among a people in whose midst he does acts of disobedience, and, though they are able to make him change (his acts), they do not change, Allah will smite them with punishment before they die. (Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah) (tr. Abu Dawud, no.4339)
Therefore, an individual should always exert effort in reviving and defending the Sunnah and extinguishing bid’ah in order to protect oneself from the punishment mentioned in this Hadith.
عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ مَنْ دَعَا إِلَى هُدًى كَانَ لَهُ مِنَ الأَجْرِ مِثْلُ أُجُورِ مَنْ تَبِعَهُ لاَ يَنْقُصُ ذَلِكَ مِنْ أُجُورِهِمْ شَيْئًا
Abu Hurayrah RadiAllahu Anhu said that Allah’s Messenger said: He who called (people) to righteousness, there would be reward (assured) for him like the rewards of those who adhered to it, without their rewards being diminished in any respect. (Muslim) (tr. Muslim, no.2674)
أَنَّ النَّبِيَّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ لِبِلاَلِ بْنِ الْحَارِثِ ” اعْلَمْ ” . قَالَ مَا أَعْلَمُ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ قَالَ ” اعْلَمْ يَا بِلاَلُ ” . قَالَ مَا أَعْلَمُ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ قَالَ ” أَنَّهُ مَنْ أَحْيَا سُنَّةً مِنْ سُنَّتِي قَدْ أُمِيتَتْ بَعْدِي فَإِنَّ لَهُ مِنَ الأَجْرِ مِثْلَ مَنْ عَمِلَ بِهَا مِنْ غَيْرِ أَنْ يَنْقُصَ مِنْ أُجُورِهِمْ شَيْئًا
The Prophet (ﷺ) said to Bilal bin Al-Harith: “Know.” He said: “I am ready to know O Messenger of Allah!” He (ﷺ) said: “That indeed whoever revives a Sunnah from my Sunnah which has died after me, then for him is a reward similar to whoever acts upon it without diminishing anything from their rewards…. (al-Tirmidhi) (tr. Al-Tirmidhi, no.2677)
Ibrahim bin Maysarah said: Whoever honours an innovator then verily he has aided the destruction of Islām. (Transmitted by al-Bayhaqi in Shu’bal Iman in mursal form) (tr. al-Lalika’i, Sharh Usul al-Ei’tiqad, 1:139 no.267; al-Tabrizi, Mishkat al-Masabih, 1:189)
al-Fatawa al-Rehmaniyyah – Shaykh al-Hadith Ubaydullah Rehmani Mubarakpuri, 5:39-40