Sharh al-Sunnah

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Sharh al-Sunnah: Explanation of the Creed  (10th century) 
by Al-Barbahari, translated by Dawud Burbank

Abridged version (merging points into 140 from 169 or 170). Explanation of the Creed by Abu Muhammad Al-Hasan ibn ‘Alee ibn Khalaf Al-Barbahaaree (d. 329 AH/941 BCE). The classic work consists of 170 points on various aspects of the Muslim creed, with quotes from the the Quran, the Sunnah, the Companions and later scholars. The author was defending the orthodox creed in the enmity and opposition from the people of innovation.

Imaam al-Barbahaari said: All praise is for Allaah who guided us to Islaam and blessed us with it and placed us in the best nation, so we ask Him to grant us that we keep to that which He loves and is pleased with and avoid that which He hates and which angers Him.

The Sunnah is Islaam and Islaam is the Sunnah[edit]

Know that Islam is the Sunnah, and the Sunnah is Islaam and one of them cannot be established without the other.

From the Sunnah is Clinging to the Jamaa'ah[edit]

From the Sunnah is clinging to the Jamaa'ah. Whoever desires other than the Jamaa'ah and departs from it then he has thrown off the yoke of Islaam from his neck and he is astray, leading others astray.

The Companions Are The Foundation of the Jamaa'ah[edit]

The foundation upon which the Jamaa'ah is built is the Companions of Muhammad May Allaah's Mercy be upon them all. They are Ahl us-Sunnah wal-Jamaa'ah, so whoever does not take from them has gone astray and innovated and every innovation is misguidance, and misguidance and its People are in the Fire.

All The Affairs Have Been Made Clear By the Sunnah and Jamaa'ah[edit]

'Umar ibn al-Khattaab, rahimahullaah, said, "There is no excuse for anyone going astray thinking that he is upon guidance. Nor for abandoning guidance thinking it to be misguidance, since the affairs have been made clear, the proof established and the excuse cut off." That is because the Sunnah and the Jamaa'ah have consolidated and safeguarded all of the Religion. It has been made clear to the people, so it is upon the people to comply and follow.

Adhering to the Understanding of the Companions[edit]

May Allaah have mercy upon you. Know that the Religion is what came from Allaah, the Blessed and Most High. It is not something left to the intellect and opinions of men. Knowledge it is what comes from Allaah and His Messenger, so do not follow anything based upon your desires and so deviate away from the Religion and leave Islaam. There will be no excuse for you since Allaah's Messenger explained the Sunnah to his Ummah and made it clear to his Companions and they are the Jamaa'ah, and they are the Main Body (as-Sawaad ul-A'dham), and the Main Body is the truth andits followers. So he who contradicts the Companions of Allaah's Messenger sallallahu alaihiwasallam in any of the affairs of the Religion, then he has fallen into disbelief.

All Innovation (in the Religion) is Misguidance[edit]

Know that the people never introduce an innovation until they abandon its like from the Sunnah. So, beware of newly invented matters, since every newly invented matter is an innovation and every innovation is misguidance and misguidance and its people are in the Fire.

All Major Innovations and Deviations Begin Small and Insignificant[edit]

Beware of small innovations because they grow until they become large. This is the case with every innovation introduced in this Ummah. It began as something small, bearing resemblance to the truth which is why those who entered it were mislead and then were unable to leave it. So it grew and became the religion which they followed and thus deviated from the Straight Path and left Islaam.

Care With Respect to the Affairs of Knowledge and Religion[edit]

May Allaah have mercy upon you! Examine carefully the speech of everyone you hear from in your time particularly. So do not act in haste and do not enter into anything from it until you ask and see: Did any of the Companions of the Prophet (saws) speak about it or any of the scholars? So if you find a narration from them about it, cling to it, do not go beyond it for anything and do not give precedence to anything over it and thus fall into the Fire.

The Two Ways to Leave the Straight Path[edit]

Know that leaving the correct path occurs in two ways. Firstly : that a man strays from the correct path intending nothing but good, so his error is not to be followed since it leads to destruction. (Secondly), a man who deliberately opposes the truth and acts contrary to the Pious ones who came before him, he is astray, leading others astray, a rebellious devil within the Ummah. It is a duty upon those who know of him to warn the people against him and to explain his condition to them so that no one falls into his innovation and is destroyed.

Islam is Complete and Requires Only Submission[edit]

May Allah have mercy upon you! Know that a servant's Islaam is not complete until he follows, attests to and submits to (the truth). So anyone who claims that there remains anything from Islaam not sufficiently explained by the Companions of Allaah's Messenger, has falsely accused them, has split from them and spoken ill of them. He is an innovator, astray and leading others astray, introducing into Islaam that which is not from it.