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107. Advice of Caliph Umar Ibn Abdul Aziz

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Caliph ‘Umar ibn ‘Abdul-‘Azeez was reported to have said, “Stop where the people [i.e., the Companions] stopped, for they stopped based on knowledge and restrained themselves due to deep insight. They were better able to uncover it, and if there was virtue in it they were most suitable to gain it. If you say: ‘Something new happened after them,’ [know that] those who disagreed with their guidance and preferred another sunnah beside theirs innovated regarding it. They [i.e., the Companions] described what fulfilled the need and what they spoke about was sufficient. No one expended more effort than them and those following them. Some people fell short of [following] them and went astray, while others passed them and became extremists. They were between that onstraight guidance.”

Source: Narrated by Ibn al-Jawzee in Manaaqib ‘Umar ibn ‘Abdil-‘Azeez, pp. 83-84 and Ibn Rajab in Fadl ‘Ilm as-Salaf, p. 36

The phrase “they stopped based on knowledge” indicates that their silence about issues was based on knowledge and fear of Allaah, not inability and weakness. Furthermore, the fact that those who came after them elaborated and expounded on certain issues is not evidence that they weremore knowledgeable than their predecessors. To put it bluntly, any body can talk about & philosophize any issue without an iota of knowledge about that subject.

Sh. Saalih Aal ash-Shaykh commented: “He divided the state of the sahaabah into two sections:

The first, that they “stopped based on knowledge”. The Companions are the most knowledgeable people from the nation of Muhammad. They were more suited to knowledge than those besides them and those who came after them had less knowledge. Thus, the Companions were knowledgeable; they had insight, they were virtuous, and they were enlightened. They fully understood the Qur’aan and the Sunnah. Tafseer (interpretation) of the Qur’aan is taken fundamentally from them [whether in the form of narrations from the Prophet or from their own explanations].

‘Umar ibn ‘Abdul-‘Azeez described them as “halting based on knowledge” from the Messenger of Allaah or from their understanding of the Qur’aan and the Sunnah according to the implications of Arabic or from what they taught each other.Therefore, all of their rulings were based on knowledge.

The second, what they avoided and were silent on. They did so based on deep insight. They did not delve into issues which those who followed them delved into due to their inability. No.They did so due to their sagacity and discernment; due to their foresight, understanding and knowledge. For they spoke based on knowledge which they found and what they were silent about was due to their foresight and insight. And this is what is obligatory on us, to cast aside the opinions, reasons, logic and understandings which conflict with that of the Companions of Allaah’s Messenger regarding issues of belief as well as the religion in general. Whatever the Companions believed and followed is the correct measure by which your understanding should be judged and by which affairs, situations and groups and people should be weighed. Because we were commanded to follow.

‘Umar ibn ‘Abdul-‘Azeez gave us this appropriate and convincing advice to follow the Companions because they spoke based on knowledge. It is obligatory to follow the guidance of the Companions, whether in issues of belief, practice, morals or worship and the like. Whatever goes beyond their way is extreme and whatever falls short is deficient and negligence. This statement of ‘Umar ibn ‘Abdul-‘Azeez represents a general methodology (manhaj) followed by theleading scholars in issues of belief, actions and morals, etc.” (SharhLum‘atul-I‘tiqaad, Tape 772)

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Written by S Ibrahim

Mar 12, 2011 at 9:26 pm

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