In the name of Allah,
I have received a lot of questions; can we do this, can we do that, why should we do this and why shouldn’t we. This is the time of fitna, in which everyone claims to be upon the truth. There are people who neglect the sunnah and advocate those which are innovated in the deen. I was once asked, why bother about these things? If the action is good, why shouldn’t we do it? I find myself constantly reminding everyone to follow the Sunnah.
Seemingly, everyone we meet says “we follow the Quraan and Sunnah,” even though their actions are completely contradictory to it. How, I ask myself, can we follow the sunnah? Through the understanding of the Salaf-as-saalih. Everytime we do an act of worship, we ask ourselves these questions: “Is this a sunnah?” “Is there a daleel for this?” “Did the Salaf-as-saalih do this?” Why? Why is it important to adhere to the Sunnah? Why is it important to find the daleel? Why is it important to follow the Salaf-as-saalih?
On the authority of Abu Najeeh al-’Irbaad ibn Saariyah (may Allah be pleased with him) who said: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) gave us a sermon by which our hearts were filled with fear and tears came to our eyes. So we said, “O Messenger of Allah! It is as though this is a farewell sermon, so counsel us.” He (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “I counsel you to have taqwa (fear) of Allah, and to listen and obey [your leader], even if a slave were to become your ameer. Verily he among you who lives long will see great controversy, so you must keep to my Sunnah and to the Sunnah of the Khulafa ar-Rashideen (the rightly guided caliphs), those who guide to the right way. Cling to it you’re your molar teeth (i.e. firmly). Beware of newly invented matters [in the religion], for verily every bidah (innovation) is misguidance.” (Abu Dawud (4607) and at-Tirmidhi (266))
Moreover, Jabir b. Abdullah said: When Allah’s Messenger (may peace he upon him) delivered the sermon, his eyes became red, his voice rose, and his anger increased so that he was like one giving a warning against the enemy and saying: “The enemy has made a morning attack on you and in the evening too.” He would also say: “The Last Hour and I have been sent like these two.” And he would join his forefinger and middle finger; and would further say: “The best of the speech is embodied in the Book of Allah, and the best of the guidance is the guidance given by Muhammad. And the most evil affairs are their innovations; and every innovation is error.” He would further say:, I am more dear to a Muslim even than his self; and he who left behind property that is for his family; and he who dies under debt or leaves children (in helplessness), the responsibility (of paying his debt and bringing up his children) lies on me.” (Muslim 867)
Both hadith clearly illustrate the importance of adhering to the sunnah. The prophet (saw) emphasized it on multiple occasions to embed it in us. He also noted the importance of the early generations, as being the best of people, they were the embodiment of the sunnah. They lived with prophet (saw), and understood his sunnah and instructions in the clearest ways.
Narrated `Abdullah: The Prophet Salallahu Alayhi Wassalam said, “The best people are those of my generation, and then those who will come after them (the next generation), and then those who will come after them (i.e. the next generation), and then after them, there will come people whose witness will precede their oaths, and whose oaths will precede their witness.” (Bukhari 6429)
‘A’isha reported that a person asked Allah’s Apostle (may peace be upon him) as to who amongst the people were the best. He said: “Of the generation to which I belong, then of the second generation (generation adjacent to my generation), then of the third generation (generation adjacent to the second generation)”. (Muslim 2536)
The Almighty Allah has said, in the Quraan; “And the first forerunners [in the faith] among the Muhajireen and the Ansar and those who followed them with good conduct – Allah is pleased with them and they are pleased with Him, and He has prepared for them gardens beneath which rivers flow, wherein they will abide forever. That is the great attainment.” (9:100)
Thus showing the importance of following the salaf-as-saalih.
Whatever act of worship,that did not come from Rasulullah (saw), which weren’t practiced by the Salaf-as-saalih, and have no authentic daleel for the act should be rejected. The hadith above shows the danger of innovating an act of worship in the deen. Do we want that?
Some people come up with answers; “but our superior says this and that”, “but isn’t that… ”, “but the ustadh said this…” bla bla bla. Ask yourselves this. Who do you fear the most? The creation or THE CREATOR?
Ask ourselves this, why are we created and breathing in this world?
“And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me.” (51:56)
If we fear Our Creator, if our purpose in this world is for worshipping Our Creator, why go against HIS prophet? Isn’t Allah’s reminder in the Al Quraan clear enough?
The Day their faces will be turned about in the Fire, they will say, “How we wish we had obeyed Allah and obeyed the Messenger.” And they will say, “Our Lord, indeed we obeyed our masters and our dignitaries, and they led us astray from the [right] way. Our Lord, give them double the punishment and curse them with a great curse.” (33:66-68)
“And let those who oppose the Messenger’s commandment (i.e. his Sunnah: legal way, orders, acts of worship, statements, etc.), (from among the sects) beware, lest some Fitnah (disbelief, trials, afflictions, earthquakes, killing, overpowered by a tyrant, etc.) befall them of a painful torment be inflicted on them.” (24:63)
O you who have believed, obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those in authority among you. And if you disagree over anything, refer it to Allah and the Messenger, if you should believe in Allah and the Last Day. That is the best [way] and best in result. (4:59)
Why is it so hard to adhere to the Sunnah, without giving way to any kind of innovations? Why will we not strictly follow the sunnah? Why is it that when it comes to the sunnah, some say “Oh! But it is just a sunnah”, but go extra length and effort for innovations. Why are we hesitating to do an act of Sunnah, but having no doubt when it comes to innovation? Where does our love to the Prophet that we keep on proclaiming, lies?
Quoting what Imam Malik said regarding innovation: “He who innovates an innovation in Islam regarding it as something good, has claimed that Muhammad has betrayed his trust to deliver the message as Allah says, “This day I have perfected for you your religion.” And whatsoever was not part of the religion then, is not part of the religion today.” (Al-I’tisam)
Performing an act of Sunnah shows our love for the Prophet. No. Qaseedah and nasheed doesn’t show our love. No. proclaiming “I miss The Prophet” on Facebook doesn’t mean anything. None of these mean anything if we do not perform or love the sunnah.
I am ending this post, with an ayah. An ayah that shows Islam is perfect as it is. We do not need innovations, for Allah has blesses us with a beautiful and perfect deen.
“This day I have perfected for you your religion and have completed My Favour upon you and have chosen for you Islam as a religion.” Surah Mai’dah (05:03)