[ Part Four of a series of inspiring articles from a recorded lecture entitled, “Min Ma’een al-Imaam Ahmad” (“Benefits from the Life and Works of Imam Ahmad”) by Shaykh Saalih Aal ash-Shaykh (may Allaah preserve him) ]
Recognizing the High Status of the Scholars
From his other noteworthy sayings, may Allaah have Mercy on him, elevate his and our positions, and reward him with the best reward, the most plentiful and loftiest one, “Whatever the scholars of Ahlus-Sunnah have detested, then it is evil.” He (Imam Ahmad) said (repeating), “Whatever the scholars of Ahlus-Sunnah have detested, then it is evil.” He meant that the scholars of Ahlus-Sunnah are to be referred to in affairs of what is to be considered evil and what is not.
So whatever the scholars of Ahlus-Sunnah have detested in the issues of ‘aqeedah, then it is evil. Whatever the scholars of Ahlus-Sunnah have detested with regards to manners, then it is evil. Whatever the scholars of Ahlus-Sunnah have detested in affairs of ordering righteousness and forbidding evil, then it is evil. This means that a man must return to the scholars of the Sunnah if he wants to know about the affairs of the Sunnah, about the proper understanding of righteousness and evil.
So whatever the scholars of Ahlus-Sunnah have detested, then it is an evil thing, the evil of which we have no doubt in. This is indeed a great lesson from Imam Ahmad for every Muslim, that he must follow and take guidance from the scholars of Ahlus-Sunnah, those who have great concern for the Sunnah of the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam).
This goes for all aspects of towheed, as well as acts of worship, business transactions, manners, education, work, and all dealings between people in the society. You must refer to the scholars of Ahlus-Sunnah in these affairs. This will free your heart from your desires. This will cause your heart to be detached from what your intellect likes and dislikes. Therefore it is binding for us to be followers, for us to return often to the people of knowledge, to the people of the Sunnah for religious rulings.
For whatever the scholars of Ahlus-Sunnah detest, then it is an evil thing. That means that you do not classify things as being evil according to your own opinion, nor do you get to know affairs by way of your opinions, rather you must refer to the scholars of Ahlus-Sunnah regarding the current and future affairs.
This is something that there is no doubt about, since the scholars of Ahlus-Sunnah are the inheritors of the prophets and the guides to the Sharee’ah. They are the ones that Imam Ahmad spoke of in the introduction to his book, “The praise is for Allaah, the One who keeps a group of scholars available during the times when there is no messenger, scholars who bring those who have strayed back to the Guidance, curing their blindness and bringing them back to life using Allaah’s Book.”
Therefore, they are the ones we refer to. The affairs are not about, “Is this a bad thing or not? Should I reject it or not? Should I respond or not? Is this correct or not?” These things must not come from a person’s independent judgments from his own opinions, rather he must refer these matters back to the scholars of Ahlus-Sunnah.
Why? That is because these things are affairs of ‘aqeedah, affairs of the Religion. Everyone claims that they understand the affair of enjoining good and forbidding evil. The Khawaarij claimed it, and thus stood up against the imams. The Mu’tazilah claimed it, and thus viewed the opposition of the imams as being a good thing. Like them, many groups claimed to be enjoining good and forbidding evil, and thus stood up against the imams. However, the affair is to be according to the judgment of the scholars of Ahlus-Sunnah, and whatever they have classified as being an evil thing.
Continue reading… Part Five – Loving and Hating for the Right Reasons
Or go to the Index of articles in this inspiring series.
Translation, Titles, and Footnotes by: Moosaa Richardson
Originally published on Bakkah.net: 1423-05-16