The Path of Ahl As-Sunnah Wal-Jama’ah and Brotherhood Among Muslims
[Excerpt from the book ‘Aqeedatu Waasitiyah’ (Creed of the Middle Path) by Ibn Taymiyyah]
The path of the people of the Sunnah and the Jama’ah is following the Prophet’s Tradition both inwardly and outwardly, and following the foot- steps of the early Muslims, both the Muhajirun (Emigrants) and the Ansar (Helpers), and following the Prophet’s recommendation: “Hold on to my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the Rightly Guided Caliphs after me. Hold on to it firmly. And beware of heretical innovations (Bid’ah) because each heretical innovation (Bid’ah) is a falsehood and each false- hood is a deviation from the right path.” (Reported by Ahmad Ibn Hanbal Abu Dawud, at-Tirmidhi who said it is a good and sound hadith, and Ibn Majah)
The people of the Sunnah know that the most truthful words are Allah’s Words over the words of all people, and they put the guidance of Muhammad (peace be upon him) ahead of the guidance of all people. Because of all this they are called the People of the Book and the Sunnah. They are called the People of the Community because community means unity and its opposite is disunity.
The term Jama’ah became a name for the unified people themselves and al-Ijma’ (consensus) is the third pillar on which people depend for ‘ilm (knowledge) and din (faith).
By these three pillars (Qur’an, Sunnah, and Ijma’) is measured all that people follow of inward or outward words and acts which have any relation to din (faith) and to the controlled ijma’ of the righteous ancestors since after them the disagreement increased, and the ‘Ummah dispersed.
Brotherhood Among Muslims
By these fundamentals, then, they bid good deeds and forbid objectionable deeds in accordance with what the Shari’ah ordains. And they believe in practicing Hajj (pilgrimage) and Jihad (struggle for the cause of Allah), in attending Friday communal prayers and the holidays with the leaders, be they pious or wicked, and in observing the community prayers. They believe in advising the ‘Ummah, and they indoctrinate themselves with the Prophet’s saying: “A believer is for a believer just as all the parts of an edifice support each other.” (Reported by al-Bukhari and Muslim)
The Prophet (peace be upon him) intermixed his fingers while saying this.
And [they indoctrinate themselves with] the saying of [the Prophet] (peace be upon him): “The example of the believers in their affection and compassion and benevolence is like the body; If one part of it becomes ill the whole body comes to its aid with fever and sleeplessness.” (Reported by al-Bukhari and Muslim)
[Ahl as-Sunnah] bid people persevere when calamity strikes, and are thankful in the time of life’s ease, and are accepting in the fulfillment of Allah’s Irreversible Decree. They call on people to practice noble manners and good deeds, and to indoctrinate themselves with the Prophet’s saying: “A perfect faith belongs to a believer with good manners.” (Reported by Ibn Hanbal and at-Tirmidhi who said it is good and sound hadith)
[Ahl as-Sunnah] urge people to mend the relations with those who have broken with them, to give to those who have deprived them, and to forgive those who have done injustice to them. They order people to keep filial piety, to be good to other relatives, to be good neighbors, to treat orphans, wayfarers and the poor kindly and to be gentle and humane to the slave. They forbid bragging, arrogance and transgression. They prevent people from feeling superior over others, rightly or wrongly. And they bid people use high manners and prohibit them from pursuing trifles. All that they say or do of the above, or of other than it, in all of it they follow the Book (The Qur’an) and the Sunnah. Their “path” is the religion of Islam, for which Allah sent Muhammad (peace be upon him).
But for all this, the Prophet (peace be upon him) foretold: “That his ‘Ummah will split into seventy-three factions, all of them in Hell except one: The Jama’ah (the Community).” (Reported by Ahmad Ibn Hanbal)
And (the Prophet) (peace be upon him) said in another hadith: “They are those who will follow what I am and what my companions are today.” (at-Tirmidhi)
Those referred to in this saying, those who hold firmly to pure, unadulterated Islam, became the people of the Sunnah and the Jama’ah. Amongst them are the Siddiqs, the martyrs, the righteous, included in them are the cairns of guidance, the lamps for darkness, the masters of memorable merits, the ever-remembered virtues; Among them are the Abdal 1 the Imams about whose judgment and understanding all Muslims agree. These are the victorious ones about whom the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “A group of my ‘Ummah will continue to follow the truth prominently. Whoever betrays them or opposes them can never harm them to the Day of Judgment.” (al-Bukhari and Muslim)
Thus, we ask Allah ,The Great “to make us part of them, and not to let our hearts swerve after He has guided us and to bestow on us Mercy from Him. Indeed, He is, The Generous. Allah knows best.”
May Allah’s many blessings and greetings be upon Muhammad, his family, and his companions.
1. Al-Abdal certain righteous persons, of whom the world is never destitute; when one dies, Allah substituting another in his place. Certain persons by means of whom Allah rules the earth; consisting of seventy men, according to their assertion, of whom the earth is never destitute; forty of whom are in Syria, and thirty in the other countries; none of them dying without another’s supplying his place, from the rest of mankind; and therefore they are named Abdal.
Wa-ahhira da’wana: “Al-Hamdu lil-Lahi Rabbi al-‘Alamin, was-salatu was- salamu ‘ala ashrafl al-mursalin, Sayyidina Muhammad, wa-‘ala alihi wa-sahbihi ajma’in wa-man walahum ila yawmi ad-din. Allahumma ighfir li wa-li- walidayya, wa-arhamhuma ha-ma rabbayani saghiran.”