Manhaj of Ahl al-Hadeeth

By Shaykh Muhammad ibn Jamil Zeno [1]

Allaah – the Most High – said “And hold fast altogether to the Rope of Allâh and do not become divided.” [2]

[2] Allaah – the Most High – said: “And do not be of those who commit Shirk (associate partners with Allaah), those who split-up their Deen and become sects; each sect rejoicing in what is with them.” [3]

[3] The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said:

“I advise you to have taqwa of Allaah and to hear and to obey, even if an Abyssinian slave becomes your leader. Those of you who live long after me will see a lot of differences, so hold fast to my Sunnah and to the Sunnah of the Rightly-Guided Khalifahs after me. Cling to it tightly and beware of newly-invented matters, for every newly invented matter is an innovation, and every innovation is misguidance, and all misguidance is in the Fire.” [4]

[4] He (صلى الله عليه وسلم) also said:

“Indeed, the people of the Book before you split-up into seventy-two sects. And this nation will split-up into seventy-three sects, seventy two are in the Fire and one is in Paradise.” [5] And in another narration: “All of them are in the Fire except one.” It was asked: Who is that one? He replied: “That which I and my Companions are upon.” [6]

[5] Ibn Mas’ud said: [7]

Allaah’s Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) drew a line for us and then said: “This is Allaah’s Path.” Then he drew lines to its right and its left, and said: “These are differing paths, upon each of them there is a shaytaan (devil) calling to it.” Then he recited: “And verily this is My Path, so follow it, and do not follow other paths for they will seperate you away from His Path.” [8]

Shaykh ’Abdul-Qaadir al-Jilaani (d.561H) said:

“As for al-Firqatun-Naajiyah (the Saved-Sect) it is Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jama’ah, and there is no name for Ahlus-Sunnah except one – and that is Ashaabul-Hadeeth (the People of Hadeeth).” [9]

[7] Allaah – the One free from all defects, the Most High – orders us to hold fast altogether to the Noble Qur’aan; and not to be of the mushriks (those who associate partners with Allaah in that which is particular to Him) who split-up their Deen and become shi’an (sects) and hizbs (parties). And the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) informed us that the Jews and the Christians will be divided into many sects and that the Muslims will split-up even more. And that these sects will be fitting for entry into the Fire, due to their deviations and their being far from the Book of their Lord and the Sunnah of their Messenger. And that only one sect will be saved from the Fire and enter Paradise – and that is the Jama’ah; those who cling to the Book and the authentic Sunnah and to the actions of the Companions of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم). O Allaah! Make us from amongst the Saved-Sect; and grant the Muslims the guidance and ability to be from it.

Methodology of the Saved-Sect

[1] Al-Firqatun-Naajiyah (the Saved-Sect) is that which adheres to the manhaj (methodology) of Allaah’s Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) during his lifetime, and to the minhaj of his Companions after him: and that is the Noble Qur‘aan which Allaah revealed to His Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم), and which he explained to his Companions in the authentic Sunnah – ordering the Muslims to cling to these two, saying: “I am leaving amongst you two things, you will never go astray as long as you cling to them: the Book of Allaah and my Sunnah. They will not separate from each other, until you meet me at the Lake.” [10]

[2] The Saved-Sect returns to the Word of Allaah and His Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) whenever there is disagreement or difference of opinion; acting upon the saying of Allaah – the Most High: “If you differ in anything amongst yourselves, refer it to Allaah and His Messenger, if you do believe in Allaah and the Last Day. That is best and most suitable for final determination.” [11] And He – the Most High – said: “But no, by your Lord! They cannot have any faith until they make you (the Messenger) a judge in all disputes that they have between them, and find in themselves no resistance against your decision, but accept them with full submission.” [12]

[3] The Saved-Sect does not give precedence to the word of anyone over the Word of Allaah and His Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم), acting upon His – the Most High’s – saying: “O you who believe! Do not put yourselves forward before Allaah and His Messenger, and have taqwa of Allaah. Indeed, Allaah is all- Hearing, all-Seeing.” [13]

Ibn Abbaas said:

“I fear that stones will descend upon you from the sky, that I say to you that the Messenger of Allâh said; and you say to me that Abû Bakr and ’Umar say something else!” [14]

[4] The Saved-Sect values Tawhid: and it is to single-out Allaah alone in worship, in supplication, in seeking aid and assistance, in seeking refuge in times of ease and hardship, in sacrificing and vow-making, in placing total reliance and trust in Him and in judging by what Allâh has revealed; and all other forms of worship. These are the foundations upon which the true Islaamic governance is based. It is therefore essential to remove shirk (associating partners with Allâh in those matters that are particular to Him) and its manifestations – which is present in all the Muslim lands – since this is a requirement of Tawhîd. And victory is not possible when Tawhid is neglected, nor can Shirk be fought with its like. We must – in this – follow the examples of the Prophets and in particular, the example of our noble Prophet – may the Peace of Allaah and His Prayers be upon them all.

[5] The Saved-Sect revive the Sunnah of Allaah’s Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) in their ibaadah (worship), suluk (behaviour) and in their lives, thus becoming strangers amongst the people – as Allaah’s Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) mentioned in his saying: “Islaam started as something strange and will return as something strange as it began, so Tuba (a tree in Paradise) is for the Strangers.” [15] In another narration: “ … so Tuba is for the Strangers. Those who correct and put right what the people have corrupted.” [16]

[6] The Saved-Sect does not have ta’assub (bigoted adherence) to the sayings of anyone, except the saying of Allaah and the saying of His infallible Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم), who does not speak from his own desires. As for every other person – however elevated his rank – then he errs and makes mistakes, according to his (صلى الله عليه وسلم) saying: “All the children of Aadam err and commit mistakes, and the best of those who make mistakes are those who turn in repentance.” [17]

Imam Malik (d. 179H) said:

“There is no one after the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم), except that you can take his saying or leave it, with the exception of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم).” [18]

[7] The Saved-Sect are Ahlul-Hadeeth (the People of Hadeeth), about whom the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said: “There will not cease to be a group from my Ummah victorious and uppermost upon the truth, those who abandon them will not harm them, until the command of Allaah comes about.” [19]

A poet said:

“Ahlul-Hadeeth are the people of the Prophet, although;
They accompany him not, they are with his every movement.”

[8] The Saved-Sect love and honour the mujtahid Imaams (those Scholars who are able to extract rulings from the Book and the Sunnah). However, they do not have ta’assub (bigoted blind adherence) to any particular one of them. On the contrary, they take fiqh (rulings) from the Qur‘aan and the authentic ahadeeth, upon the understanding, and the sayings, of all of the Scholars – if it is in agreement with the authentic ahadeeth. Indeed, this agrees with their saying, that you should take it if it agrees with the authentic hadeeth and leave whatever disagrees with it.

[Imaam Abu Haneefah (d.150H) said:

“If a hadeeth is found to be authentic, then that is my madhhab.” [21]

Imaam Malik (d.179H) said:

“Indeed I am only a man. I am sometimes mistaken and at other times correct; so look into my opinions. All that agrees with the Book and the Sunnah, accept it; and all that does not agree with the Book and the Sunnah, then abandon it.” [22]

Imaam ash-Shafi’ee (d.204H) said:

“Everything that I say, for which there is something authentically related from the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) contrary to my saying, then the hadeeth of the Prophet comes first. So do not make taqlîd (blind-following) of me.” [23]

Imaam Ahmad (d.241H) said:

“Do not make taqleed (blind-following) of me, nor make taqleed of Mâlik, nor of ash-Shafi’ee, nor of al-Awza’, nor of ath-Thawri. But take from where they took.” [24] ]

[9] The Saved-Sect orders the good and forbids the evil. Thus it renounces the innovated ways and destructive parties and groups which split the Ummah: those that innovate in the Deen and innovate with regards the Sunnah of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) and that of his Companions.

[10] The Saved-Sect calls the Muslims to cling to the Qur‘aan and to the Sunnah of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) and to the way of his Companions, until victory is decreed for them; and until they enter Paradise by the Grace of Allaah and the shifa’ah (intercession) of His Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم

[11 The Saved-Sect reject those laws which are man-made when they contradict the judgement of Islaam. Rather, it calls to the judgement by the Book of Allaah, which Allaah revealed for the happiness and benefit of mankind, both in this world and in the Hereafter, and Allaah – the Most Perfect, the Most High – knows what it is that will correct and reform them. So His Law is firm and constant, it will not alter for the rest of time, nor does the passage of time alter its values. Indeed, the reason for the misfortunes of this world in general, and the Islaamic world in particular – which is experiencing misfortune, lowliness and humiliation – is: abandoning judging by the Book of Allâh and the Sunnah of His Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) And nothing will make the Muslims strong again except by them returning to the teachings of Islaam – individually, collectively and in their governance – acting upon the saying of Allaah, the Most High: “Indeed, never will Allaah change the condition of a people until they change themselves.” [25]

[12] The Saved-Sect call the Muslims collectively to Jihâd in the path of Allaah – which is obligatory upon every Muslim in accordance with his ability and strength. And Jihaad comprises the following:-

[i] Jihaad with the Tongue and the Pen: to call the Muslims and others to the adherence of the true and correct Islaam and adherence to Tawhid free from the shirk which has spread in the Islaamic lands; and which Allaah’s Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) informed us would appear amongst the Muslims, saying: “The Hour will not be established until a group from my Ummah will follow the mushriks, and large groups [26] of my Ummah will worship idols.” [25]

[ii] Jihaad with Wealth: and it is to give wealth for the propagation of Islaam and for printing da’wah books based upon the correct approach. It also consists of the distribution of funds to the weak Muslims to incline their hearts and to strengthen them. It also consists of the manufacture and purchase of weapons and equipping the mujahideen – providing them with food, clothing and other requirements.

[iii] Jihaad with Oneself: it consists of fighting and participating in battle for the victory of Islaam, such that the Word of Allaah is made uppermost, whilst the word of kufr (disbelief) is debased and made low.

And the noble Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) pointed to these three types of Jihaad in his saying: “Make Jihaad against the mushriks with your wealth, yourselves and your tongues.” [28]

And the ruling concerning Jihaad in the path of Allaah is according to the following cases:-

Fard ’Ayn (individual obligation): When the enemy aggressors take over any part of the Muslim lands – such as Palestine – which has been over-run by the wicked Jews. So it is an obligation upon the Muslims – whether with their wealth or their selves – to drive out the Jews from Palestine and return Masjdul-Aqsa to the Muslims – the Muslims being sinful until they do so.

Fard Kifayah (collective obligation): If some Muslims carry it out, then it is no longer obligatory upon the rest of them. And it is to convey the da’wah (call) of Islaam to the rest of the lands until they are ruled by Islaam. So whosoever contends with and obstructs the da’wah, then they must be fought until the obstruction is removed and the da’wah is allowed to continue freely.

The Signs of the Saved-Sect

[1] Al-Firqatun-Naajiyah (the Saved-Sect) are few amongst the people. Allaah’s Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) prayed for them in the following words: “Tuba (a tree in Paradise) is for the Strangers – the people who are righteous amongst a people who are mostly wicked, those that disobey them are more than those who obey them.” [29] And the noble Qur’aan inform about them. So it says in praise of them: “But few of My Servants are grateful.” [30]

[2] The Saved-Sect are abandoned by most people, who slander them and ridicule them with insulting names. So there is for them an example in the Prophets (صلى الله عليه وسلم) about whom Allaah said: “And so We appointed for every Prophet an enemy; devils amongst mankind and jinn, inspiring one another with flowery discourses by way of deception.” [31] And Allaah’s Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) was treated in this way by his people. So when he called them to Tawhid they called him a sorcerer and a liar – whereas prior to this they used to call him as-Sadiq (truthful) and al-Amin (trustworthy).

[3] Shaykh Abdul-Azeez bin Baaz – was asked about al-Firqatun-Naajiyah (the Saved-Sect), so he said: “They are the Salafis [32] and all who adhere to the path of the Salafus-Salih (the Pious Predecessors).”

The Aided and Victorious Group

[1] The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said: “There will not cease to be a group from my Ummah victorious upon the truth, not being harmed by those who oppose them until the command of Allaah comes about, and they are like that.” [33]

[2] He (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said: “When the people of Sham (Syria, Jordan, Palestine) become corrupt then there will be no good in you. And there will not cease to be a group from my Ummah being helped; those that oppose them will not harm them, until the hour is established.” [34]

[3] Ibn al-Mubarak (d.151H) – said:

“According to me, they are Ashabul-Hadîth (the Scholars of Hadeeth).” [35]

[4] Al-Bukhari (d.256H) – said:

“It means: Ahlul-Hadeeth (the People of Hadeeth).” [36]

[5] Imaam Ahmad (d.241H) – said:

“If this Taa’ifatul-Mansoorah (Victorious and Aided Group) is not Ashabul-Hadeeth, then I do not know who they are.” [37]

[Al-Qadi Iyad – said:

“What Ahmad intended was Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamâ’ah: those who hold the ’Aqidah of Ahlul-Hadeeth.” [38] ]

[6] Indeed, Ahlul-Hadeeth, by virtue of their competence in the study of the Sunnah, are not attached to any person, but are altogether concerned with the Sunnah of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) ; his guidance, his manners, his battles, and whatever else pertains to him.

[7] Imaam ash-Shafi’ee said, whilst addressing Imaam Ahmad:

“You are more knowledgeable about Hadeeth than I am. So if there comes to you a Hadeeth that is authentic, then make me aware of it, until I accept it and accord with it – it is from Basrah.” [39]

So Ahlul-Hadeeth – may Allaah make us amongst them – do not have ta’assub (bigoted blind adherence) for the saying of any particular person, however elevated, or whatever position he holds. Rather, they cling to the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم), as opposed to those who do not ascribe themselves to Ahlul-Hadeeth; those who have ta’assub to their Imaams – who have actually prohibited them from this – just as Ahlul-Hadeeth readily cling to the sayings of their Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم). So it is not surprising that Ahlul-Hadeeth are al-Firqatun-Naajiyah (the Saved-Sect ) and at-Ta’ifatul-Mansoorah (the Aided and Victorious Group).

[8] Al-Khateeb al-Baghdaadi (d.463H) said:

“And if only the people of blameworthy opinion busied themselves with beneficial knowledge, and seeking the Sunnah of the Messenger of the Lord of Creation, and followed the way of the fuqaha and muhaddithoon – then they would find that this would be sufficient for them. And the narration would take the place of his opinion which he used to hold; since the Hadîth comprehends the fundamentals of Tawhid, the reported Threats and the Promises, the Attributes of the Lord of Creation – who is High above the saying of the apostates, it also contains information about Paradise and Hell-Fire, and what Allaah has prepared therein for the pious and the wicked, and what Allaah has created in the earths and the heavens, and the remarkable things and great signs, and a mention of the nearest Angels – those drawn up in ranks and those who recite tasbih.

And the Hadeeth comprehends stories of the about the pious ascetics and Awliya, wonderful admonition and sayings of the Scholars. It contains histories of the kings of the ’Arabs and non-’Arabs, and the accounts of past nations, and descriptions of the battles of the Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم); his expeditions, rulings, judgements, sermons, warnings, predictions and miracles. It also contains information about the number of his Wives and Children, his Relatives and Companions, and a mention of their excellence and merit, and a mention of their lives, their actions and their ancestry. And the Hadeeth contains tafseer of the Qur’aan, information and the wise remembrance contained in it. It contains the sayings of the Companions about its preserved rulings, the different sayings they held, as well as those of the Scholars and mujtahids.

And Allaah made Ahlul-Hadeeth (the People of Hadeeth) the pillar of the Shari’ah and the destroyer of every despicable innovation. So they are Allaah’s wardens amongst His creation, and the link between the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) and his Ummah, and the strivers to preserve His Deen. So their light shines brightly, their excellence remains, their signs are clear, their positions evident and their proofs are over-powering. And all the sects coil themselves around vain desires and prefer opinion which they cling to – except for Ahlul-Hadeeth, since the Book is their provision, the Sunnah is their proof, the Messenger their leader and to him is their ascription. They do not deviate upon vain desires, nor turn to mere conjecture. They accept what is reported from the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) and they are the trustworthy and reliable ones, who memorise the Deen and are its treasurers, its storehouses of knowledge and its bearers. If anyone differs about a hadeeth, then it is referred back to them. Thus, their judgement is accepted and listened to. From them is every Scholar and Imaam, and every true ascetic, and one of excellence, and precise reciter and righteous Khateeb. They are the Saved-Sect and their way is the straight one … ” [40]

May Allaah make us from amongst Ahlul-Hadeeth, and provide us with the ability to act upon it, love its people and to act in accordance with it.


1. Minhaj al-Firqatun-Naajiyah wat-Ta’ifat al-Manroorah (pp.6-17) – slightly adapted. Four additional narrations have been added to the main text, by the Editors, and are indicated by […].

2. Surah Al’e-’Imraan 3:103

3. Surah ar-Rum 30:31-32

4. Saheeh: Related by Abu Dawud (no.4607), at-Tirmidhî (no.2676) and it was authenticated by al-Hafidh Ibn Hajr in Takhrij Ahadeeth Mukhtasar Ibnul-Hajib (1/137). The addition: “ … and every misguidance is in the Fire.” was narrated by al-Bayhaqi (10/114) and others. It was authenticated by Ibn Taymiyyah in Iqtida as-Siratul-Mustaqim (1/111).

5. Hasan: Related by Abu Dawud (no.4597) and Ahmad (4/102) and it was authenticated by al-Hafidh Ibn Hajr in Takhrij Ahadithul-Kashaf (no.63).

6. Hasan: Related by at-Tirmidhi (5/62) and al-Hakim (1/128) and others. It was authenticated by al-Hafidh al-’Iraqi in Takhrijul-Ihya (3/199) and al-Albaani in as-Saheehah (no.204).

7. Saheeh: Related by Ahmad (1/435) and also al-Hakim (2/318) who authenticated it and adh-Dhahabi agreed.

8. Surah al-An’aam 6: 153

9. Al-Ghuniyatut-Talibin (p.212).

10. Saheeh: Related by al-Hakim from Abu Hurayrah. It was authenticated by al-Albaani in Takhrijul-Mishkat (no.186).

11. Surah an-Nisa 459

12. Surah an-Nisa 4:65

13. Surah al-Hujurat 49:l

14. Related by Ahmad (no.3121), al-Khatib in al-Faqih wal-Muttafaqqih (1/145) and Ibn ’Abdul-Barr in Jami’ Bayanul-’Ilm (2/196), from Sa’id ibn Jubayr. The isnaad is Hasan.

15. Related by Muslim (2/175-176) and Ibn Majah (2/320) from Abu Hurayrah.

16. Saheeh: Related by Abu ’Amrad-Dani in as-Sunanul-Waridah fil-Fitan (1/25) and al-Ajurri in al-Ghuraba (pp.l5-16), from Ibn Mas’ud. Shaykh al-Albaani authenticated it in as-Saheehah (3/267).

17. Hasan: Related by at-Tirmidhi (no.2399), Ibn Majah (no.4251) and others, from Anas. It was authenticated by al-Albaani in Saheeh Sunan Ibn Majah (no.3428).

18. Related by Ibn ’Abdul-Hado in Irshaus-Salik (227/l) who declared it Saheeh. Delighted with the beauty of this saying, Taqiud-Din as-Subki said in al-Fataawa (1/148): “These words were originally those of Ibn ’Abbaas and Mujaahid, from whom Malik took them and became famous for them.” Imaam Ahmad also took this saying from them, as Abu Dawud relates in his Masa‘il Imaam Ahmad (p.276): “I heard Ahmad say: There is no one, except that his opinion is taken or is abandoned, except the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم

19. Related by Muslim (6/52-53) and Abu Dawud (2/202) from Thawban.

20. From the poetry of Hasan ibn Muhammad an-Nasawi, as is quoted by al-Hafidh Diya‘ud-Din al-Maqdisi in his booklet Fadlul-Hadeeth wa Ahlihi.

21. Related by Ibn ’Abidin in al-Hashiyah (1/63) and also in Rasmul-Muftî (1/4).

22. Related by Ibn ’Abdul-Barr in al-Jami’ (2/32) and Ibn Hazm in Usulul-Ahkam (6/149).

23. Related by Ibn Abi Hatim in al-Adab (p.93) and Ibn ’Asakir in Tarikh Dimashq (15/9/2).

24. Related by Ibn al-Qayyim in I’lamul-Muwqi’in (2/302).

25. Surah ar-Ra’dd 13:11

26. Arabic: fi’am. In an-Nihayah (3/406), Ibn al-Athir (d.606H) explained fi’am to mean: many groups.

27. Saheeh: Part of a hadeeth which was related by Abu Dawud (no.4252), Ibn Majah (no.4000) and al-Hakim (4/448-449) who declared it Saheeh and adh-Dhahabî agreed. Refer to Tahdhirus-Sajid (p.139) of Shaykh al-Albaani. The hadîth was reported by Thawban.

28. Sahîh: Related by Abu Dawud (no.2504) from Anas. It was authenticated by al-Albaani in Saheeh Jami’ us-Saghir (no.3090).

29. Saheeh: Related by Ahmad (1/177), Ibn al-Mubarak in az-Zuhd (p.266) and others, from ’Abdullah ibn ’Amr. Shaykh Salim al-Hilali authenticated it in al-Ghurabah wal Ghuraba (p.16).

30. Surah as-Saba 34:13

31. Surah al-An’aam 6:112

32. As-Sam’ani (d.562H) said in al-Insab (3/273): “As-Salafî: this is an ascription to the Salaf and following their ways, in that which is related from them.” Ibn al-Athir (d.630H) said in al-Lubab fî Tahdhib al-Insab (2/162), commenting upon the previous saying of as-Sam’ani: “And a group were known by this ascription.” So the meaning is: that the term Salafi, and its ascription to them was a matter known in the time of as-Sam’ani, or before him. Likewise, in al-Qamusul-Muhit (no.1060), al-Fayruzabadi (d.817H) said – after mentioning a few Scholars who called themselves Salafi -: “They ascribe themselves to the Salaf.”

33. Related by Muslim (6/52-53) and Abu Dawud (2/202) from Thawban.

34. Saheeh: Related by at-Tirmidhi (2/30) who said: “The hadeeth is Hasan Saheeh.” It was also related by Ibn Majah (1/6-7) and Ahmad (3/463), from Qurrah al-Muzani.

35. Sharafu Ashabul-Hadeeth (p.26) of al-Khateeb al-Baghdaadi.

36. Sharafu Ashabul-Hadeeth (p.27).

37. Related by al-Hakim in Ma’rifatu ’Ulumul-Hadeeth (p.3), and al-Hafidh Ibn Hajr declared its isnaad to be Saheeh in Fathul-Bari (13/293).

38. Sharh Saheeh Muslim (13/67) of an-Nawawi.

39. Related by Ibn Abi Hatim in Adabush-Shafi’ee (pp.94-95), Abu Nu’aym in Hilyatul-Awliya (9/106) and al-Khateeb in Ihtijaj bish-Shafi’ee (8/1). It was declared to be Saheeh by Ibn al-Qayyim in al-I’lam (2/325).

40. Sharafu Ashabul-Hadeeth (pp.7-9).

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