Shall I not tell you of the beauty of Al-Islaam? It is that every action is already legislated within the Quraan and Sunnah, having no additions or subtractions. They form the foundations of this deen – The Quraan, the Speech of Allah as revealed to His Messenger salallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, and in turn the Sunnah, the traditions of the Prophet salallahu ‘alayhi wasallam. These two paragons of light provide us with guidance and direction and adherence to them ensures the believer success; for while others may go about this life performing actions which they think shall give them benefit, the reality may not be so if these actions do not comply with the Quraan and Sunnah.
Allah ta’ala states: Say (O Muhammad Sal’Allahu ‘alayhi wasallam): Shall We tell you the greatest losers in respect of (their) deeds? Those whose efforts have been wasted in this life while they thought that they were acquiring good by their deeds! (Al-Kahf 18:103-104)
What then is the importance of making sure our actions conform to the Quraan & Sunnah? Surely, we wish not to be amongst the losers and make our deeds a wasted effort. We are saved from this with affirmation of our actions and having proofs for them.
In our times, a lack of Islaamic knowledge persists such that people readily overstep this boundary, introducing new ideas and strange practices, often unknowingly. Thus we state the danger of this as Allah (‘Azza wa Jall) says what means:
Behold, you received it on your tongues, and said out of your mouth things of which you had no knowledge, and you thought it to be a light matter, while it was most serious in the sight of Allah. (Nur 24:15)
It is something which is often overlooked, a most rampant danger within our Ummah. Surely it is a disease, committed so frequently, yet it remains to be one of the major sins in Al Islaam, that is, saying what you do not know, or rather speaking without knowledge.We must ponder over our words, that which we disseminate and propagate – their implications, their insinuations and ultimately their consequences. Surely one should fear that he may attribute something incorrect to this deen; a grievous thing indeed. We hope, bi’idhnillah ta’ala, not to be of those who bring falsehood to this deen:
And who does more wrong than the one who invents a lie against Allâh (As-Saff 61:7)
And we look to a shining example of the past, one who refused to compromise his deen while others crumbled, one who would not buckle under the pressure and invent a lie against Allah, one who stood strong in his faith and did so because of the exemplary tawwakul (reliance upon Allah) he exuded. He was Imaam Ahmad ibn Hanbal, the epitome of courage and a model for the Ummah. A single man against an entire system of corruption, yet he was unwavering in defending this deen, for he feared none but the one above His Throne. When a group emerged [the Mu’tazila] with strange ideas concerning the Qur’aan (primarily that it was created), Imaam Ahmad was firm in his rebuttal. With the looming threat of persecution, he continued to propagate that which was correct; affirming Allah’s Names and Attributes as they are established in the Quraan and Sunnah, and that the Quraan is surely the Speech of Allah – uncreated.
When the twenty eight scholars who stood for truth, dwindled to only two (Imaam Ahmad and his student Muhammad ibn Nuh), Imaam Ahmad stood firm. When his enemies placed shackles upon him, shackles which were heavier than his own body, Imaam Ahmad retained his resolve. When Muhammad ibn Nuh had passed, and he stood alone, he remained upon his correct stance. He was whipped, he was dragged, he was imprisoned, he was tortured – yet through it all he was unwavering in what he called to, secure in his deen, and in the promise of Allah, strengthened by his taqwa (fear of Allah) and his tawwakul (reliance upon Allah). He stuck to the Quraan and Sunnah, and argued with that which is better, while his enemies were guided by their own intellect, preferring their opinions and interpretations over the truth.
The Mu’tazila stand as a prime example of what can occur when we bring forth our own opinions, when in fact, we ourselves have limited knowledge. Imagine how much this deen is corrupted when people opt to propagate their own intellect instead of relying and paying heed to the words of learned men, for verily the scholars, they are the inheritors of the Prophets.
Ibn Mas’ood (radiyAllaahu ’anhu) said: “You are in a time whose scholars are many, and its speakers are few. After you will come a time whose scholars are few, and whose speakers are many.”
The speakers have indeed increased in number, and may Allah ta’ala give us the knowledge to recognize those who base their statements upon the Quraan and Sunnah and those who do not. The light of this deen shall become apparent when it is shown in the correct manner, devoid of falsehood, and increasing ourselves in knowledge shall work towards this effort. It is that which will tell us to remain silent when we truly do not know and speak with a surety when we do. And may we pay heed to the words of Malik ibn Anas, who stated:
“Is to be the case that every time someone comes who can argue better than another that we are to abandon what Jibreel brought to Muhammad (sallallaahu `alaihi wasallam) because of his argument?!”
Thus, do not be fooled by eloquent speech nor high status, and be certain of the evidence behind your actions.
As Muslims we know where hidayah (guidance) may be found, surely it is from none other than the Quraan and Sunnah. Thus, we realize the importance of having proof for our deeds, that which has been established in these two sources. And perhaps one individual personifies the importance of such an ideal above all; Imaam Ahmad who elucidates for us how taqwa and steadfastness overcomes the enemy. One man who stood against a system who sought to silence the truth, to put out the light of Islaam, yet he feared Allah and had reliance in Him, such that the Quraan and Sunnah prevailed, such that we can hear his story today and find immense benefit from this astonishing character.
May we realize the importance of the Quraan and Sunnah, and strive to make our actions in accordance to them, seeking the Pleasure of Allah ta’ala. Aameen.