Applying the athar

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
الحمد لله والصلاة والسلام على رسول الله وعلى آله وصحبه

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Abu Hurayrah رضي الله عنه narrated that the Messenger of Allaah صلى الله عليه وسلم was asked:

يا رسول الله أي الناس خير قال أنا ومن معي قال فقيل له ثم من يا رسول الله قال الذي على الأثر قيل له ثم من يا رسول الله قال فرفضهم

“‘O Messenger of Allaah, who are the best of people?’ He صلى الله عليه وسلم said: ‘I and those who are with me’. He was asked: ‘And then who O Messenger of Allaah?’ He صلى الله عليه وسلم said: ‘Those who are upon the athar (i.e. upon his hadeeth and narrations)’. He was asked: ‘And then who O Messenger of Allaah?’ He صلى الله عليه وسلم said: ‘(Then there is) rejection (i.e. there is no other good).'”

[Musnad Ahmad, 15/106 (#7759 [see also 8279]) and others – graded as saheeh by Ahmad Shakir in his Takhreej]

In another version, it has the following addition:

أنا والذين معي ثم الذين على الأثر ثم الذين على الأثر

“…I and those who are with me, then those who are upon the athar, then those who are upon the athar… (and then he refused them the forth time).”

[Hilyat al-Awliya’, 1603 – graded as jayyid by Shu’ayb Arna’oot – see also ‘Silsilat as-Saheehah’, 4/455 (#1839)]

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1. Imam Sufyan Ath-Thawri رحمه الله تعالى said:

إذا استطعت، ألَّا تحكَّ رأسَك إلَّا بأَثرٍ فافعل

“If you are able that you should not even scratch your head except according to an Athar (i.e. Prophetic narration), then do so.”

This is not from an exaggerated speech, rather it is from the affairs of seekers of knowledge and the condition of the Ahlus-Sunnah in that they are distinguished in their general affairs – and stand out from the ways of the common people – by the fact that they apply the narrations of the Messenger of Allaah صلى الله عليه وسلم as far as they are able; and implementing the matters of Sunan upon themselves because Allaah سبحانه و تعالى Said:

لَقَدْ كَانَ لَكُمْ فِي رَسُولِ اللَّهِ أُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ لِمَنْ كَانَ يَرْجُو اللَّهَ وَالْيَوْمَ الآخِرَ وَذَكَرَ اللَّهَ كَثِيرًا

“Indeed in Allaah’s Messenger you have an excellent and fine example to follow for the one who hopes in (meeting with) Allaah and the Last Day and remembers Allaah much.”

2. The comprehensive quality that guarantees the goodness of this world and Hereafter is the love of Allaah, the Most High and the love of His Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم and realising them through a deliberate and genuine following – and pursuing the path taken by the righteous predecessors and those who follow them on the same methodology and principled approach.

3. Allaah revealed to his Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم to say:

إِنْ كُنْتُمْ تُحِبُّونَ اللَّهَ فَاتَّبِعُونِي يُحْبِبْكُمُ اللَّهُ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ذُنُوبَكُمْ وَاللَّهُ غَفُورٌ رَحِيمٌ

“If you truly love Allaah then follow me, Allaah will love you and forgive you of your sins and Allaah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”

It is thus only through the guidance of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم that Allaah’s Pleasure can be achieved. And how true are the words of the poet who said:

ومن لا يُرَبيه الرسولُ ويَسْقِه *** لباناً له قد درَّ من ثدي قُدْسِه
فذاك لقيطٌ ماله نسبه الولا *** ولا يتعدى طورَ أَبناء جِنْسِه

“Whoever is not trained and watered by the Messenger and given fine milk to drink by him, then he is a lost child deprived of his lineage and he will not get beyond the behaviour of his own people.”

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4. Imam Bukhari recorded in his saheeh under the chapter “Emulating the Actions of the Prophet صلّى الله عليه وسلّم upon the authority of Ibn Umar رضي الله عنه who said:

اتخذ النبي صلّى الله عليه وسلّم، خاتماً من ذهب، فاتخذ الناس خواتيم من ذهب , فقال النبي: إني اتخذت خاتماً من ذهب , فنبذه وقال: ” إني لن ألبسه أبداً “. فنبذ الناس خواتيمهم

“The Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وسلّم) wore a gold ring and then the people followed him (in this act) and wore gold rings too; (upon seeing this), the Prophet said: ‘I had this golden ring made for myself’. He then threw it away and said: ‘I shall never put it on (again).’ Thereupon the people also threw their rings away.”

5. The early Muslims were very eager and diligent upon implementing the ahadeeth that reached them from Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم, even if there did not appear any directive towards worship in them. This was only done because of their sheer love and their attempt to follow al-Mustafaaصلى الله عليه وسلم as Allaah سبحانه و تعالى has commanded in His Book.

6. ‘Abd Al-Rahman bin Mahdi reported that he heard Sufyan say:

ما بلغني عن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم حديث قط إلا عملت به ولو مرة

“There was no hadeeth from the Messenger of Allaah صلى الله عليه وسلم ever conveyed to me except that I acted upon it, even if it was just once.”

Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal رحمه الله تعالى said:

ما كتبت حديثاً إلا وقد عملت به، حتى مرّ بي أن النبي صلّى الله عليه وسلّم احتجم وأعطى أبا طيبة ديناراً فأعطيت الحجام ديناراً حين احتجمت

“I never wrote down a hadeeth except that I acted upon it; such that when it reached me that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم was cupped and gave Abu Tayyibah a dinar. So I gave the cupper a dinar when he cupped me.”

Imam Ahmad’s strict observance even of the finer details of the life of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم was profound. Despite the fact he was qualified to teach and issue fatwas at an early age, he would refuse any official position in respect to teaching until he reached the age of forty. When it was enquired why he waited this long, Imam Ahmad replied it was due to the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم receiving Prophethood at the age of forty, so how could he teach before this age!

Adapted from

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May Allaah make us from the people of hadeeth, the defenders and reviver’s of Prophet’s صلى الله عليه وسلم Sunnah. Those who thread upon the methodology of the Companions and reject all other paths of deviation and misguided principles.. May He make us from the serious seekers of knowledge and true followers of our Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم in words and deeds.

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