Khutbas by Imam Habib
Khutba on Hadith
الحمد لله، الحمد لله الذي حفِظ سنةَ حبيبِه بالفقهاء العاملين، والشيوخِ العارفين، نحمده تعالى ونستعينه، ونشكره تعالى ونستغفره ونستغيثه، نعوذ بالله من شرور أنفسنا ومن سيئات أعمالنا، من يهد الله فهو المهتد ومن يضلل فلن تجد له وليا مرشدا، ونشهد أن لا إله إلا الله وحده لا شريك له، له الملك و له الحمد، يحيي ويميت، بيده الخير، وهو على كل شيء قدير، ونشهد أن سيدنا و مولانا محمداً عبده ورسوله، وحبيبه وصفيه، بلغ الرسالة وأدٌى الأمانة ونصح الأمة، النبي الأمي الذي أرسله الله بالهدى والدين الحق، بشيرا ونذيرا بين يدي الساعة، صلى الله عليه وسلم وعلى آله وأصحابه ومن تبعهم بإحسان إلى يوم الدين.
أما بعد! فيا عباد الله اتقوا الله حق تقاته ولا تموتن إلا وأنتم مسلمون. يأيها الذين ءامنوا اتقوا الله وقولوا قولا سديدا يصلح لكم أعمالكم ويغفر لكم ذنوبكم. ومن يطع
الله ورسوله فقد فاز فوزا عظيما. اتقوا الله فيما أمر وانتهوا عما نها عنه وزجر.
عن أنس ابن مالك قال: قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: لا يؤمن أحدكم حتى أكون أحب اليه من والده وولده والناس أجمعين
Anas ibn Malik narrated that the Messenger of Allah said, “None of you will believe until I am more beloved to him than his children, his father and all people.”
Hadiths are one of the main records we have of how the Messenger of Allah lived his life and conducted his affairs. The collections of Bukhari, Muslim, at-Tirmidhi and so on are perhaps the chief means we have of knowing him, and that is why we love them so, for they are the letters bringing us the longed-for news of our beloved - the one in whose company our hearts yearn to be. They are what allow us to form a picture of him, of how he used to act and what he used to say. They remind us of his tremendous character and humility, as well as teaching much that is of general use to us in our deen, such as the rewards for doing different actions, descriptions of the attributes of the Creator, descriptions of the Last Day and Hereafter, descriptions of previous Prophets and peoples and so on and so forth. These benefits of hadith are clear for all to see.
But one thing that hadith are not, especially for those uneducated in the sciences of fiqh, is a source of fiqh. Indeed, when taken on their own without guidance from the fuqaha and the madhahib, they are more likely to misguide than guide, no matter your level of knowledge. Abdallah ibn Wahb, one of the greatest students of Imam Malik and a great muhaddith in his own right, said,
لولا أن الله أنقذني بمالك والليث لضللت.
“If it were not for the fact that Allah saved me through Malik and al-Layth, I would have gone astray.”
فقيل له: كيف ذلك؟ فقال: أكثرت من الحديث فحيرني، فكنت أعرض ذلك على مالك والليث، فيقولان: خذ هذا، ودع هذا
“How so?” he was asked. He replied, “I learnt so many hadith that they started to confuse me. So I read them out to Malik and al-Layth and they told me which ones to take and which ones to leave.”
And another of the great scholars of the salaf, Sufyan ibn Uyaynah, a contemporary of Imam Malik, said,
الحديث مضلة إلا للفقهاء
“Hadith are a source of misguidance except for the fuqaha.”
And Imam Malik himself, a man who had such profound love and respect of the hadith of the Messenger of Allah that Qadi Iyad devoted a whole section of the Shifa to describing that love, said,
كثير من هذه الأحاديث ضلالة، لقد خرجت مني أحاديث لوددت إني ضربت بكل حديث منها سوطين وإني لم أحدث به
“Many of these hadiths are sources of misguidance. Indeed, there are hadiths I have narrated that I wish I had never narrated and, for each one of which, I wish I had been whipped two times.” This from a man who is acknowledged as the one of the greatest scholars of hadith, a man who among his contemporaries was the byword for sound authentic hadith to the extent that they referred to him as the amir al-muminin in hadith. But despite his mastery of the subject and despite, or perhaps because of, his tremendous love and respect of it, he was wary of it. He knew that just because a hadith was authentic (sahih) did not automatically mean that it should be acted upon - there were numerous factors that had to first be taken into account such as the circumstances surrounding the hadith, its timing, whether it was general or specific in nature, whether it was abrogated or abrogating, and whether those who narrated it had themselves acted by it or not. If two hadith appear to contradict each other, on what basis is one left and the other put into practice? And should either of them be put into practice at all, for there are many examples of hadiths that none of the people of knowledge acted by. Take, for example, the sahih hadith of Malik ibn al-Huwayrith, transmitted in the Sunan of an-Nasa’i,
أنه رأى النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم رفع يديه في صلاته إذا ركع وإذا رفع رأسه من الركوع وإذا سجد وإذا رفع رأسه من السجود حتى يحاذي بهما فروع أذنيه
“that he saw the Prophet raise his hands until they were level with his ears when he entered into the prayer, when he went into ruku, when he came out of ruku, when he went into prostration and when he came out of prostration.” This hadith, according to al-Hafidh Ibn Hajr al-’Asqalani, was the soundest hadith he found relating to the raising of the hands in the prayer, but despite that, it was not implemented by any of the four Imams. Why not? Because, they did not take their deen from hadith, but rather from the examples of the teachers from whom they inherited their knowledge. The great tabi’i, Ibrahim an-Nakha’i said,
لو كانت الصحابة يتوضأون إلى الكوعين لتوضأت كذلك وأنا أقرأها:"إلى المرافق"
“If I had found the Companions only washing their arms as far as their wrists in wudu, I would have done wudu in the same way as them even though I read ‘As far as your elbows” (i.e. in the Qur’an).”
The books of hadith are not and never have been a source of law and we view them as such we will go astray and will come up with a deen that none of the Muslims before us practiced. By taking our fiqh straight from the books of hadith, we think we get closer to the Sunna, but rather we distance ourselves from it. We think we have access to hadith our forefathers lacked but the truth is that, more often than not, they knew them and decided not to implement them. Indeed, it is narrated that some of the men of the tabi’in said, upon being informed of certain hadiths,
ما نجهل هذا و لكن مضى العمل على غيره
“We are not ignorant of them, but they are not what the people have acted upon.”
And Ibn al-Majishun said, when asked why they narrated hadiths and then failed to act by them,
ليُعلَمَ أنّا على علمٍ تركناه
“So that people might know that we were in full knowledge of them when we failed to act by them.”
The rulings of the deen are there and have been acted upon by the many generations of ulama and Muslims who came before us. They, and by they I do not refer just to the four Imams of Fiqh or the six imams of hadith, but also to the thousands who followed in their footsteps, they did the hard work for us, they polished and refined the deen - they dealt with new matters as they arose and formulated new rulings. They passed down to us a complete deen, one requiring no reworking and no revision. It is for us to put that deen into practice, that is our job, that is our work in the present age, not calling into question every ruling made by our predecessors and reformulating them in the light of our perceived greater access to hadith. That is the swiftest path to misguidance. We ask Allah to reward all of the ulama who have gone before us for their efforts in preserving His deen and we ask that He give us the himma and the furqan to put it into practice. And we ask that He give us a true appreciation of the great value of the hadiths of His Noble Messenger and protect us from going astray by means of them.
أقول قولي هذا وأستغفر الله لي ولكم ولسائر المسلمين من كل ذنب فاستغفروه إنه هو الغفور الرَّحيم
الحمد لله الحمد لله رب العالمين، وأشهد أن لا إله إلا الله وحده لا شريك له وأشهد أن محمداً عبده ورسوله، صلى الله وسلم وبارك عليه وعلى آله وصحبه، والتابعين وتابعي التابعين ومن تبعهم بإحسان إلى يوم الدين.
أما بعد! فيأيها الذين ءامنوا اتقوا الله ما استطعتم واسمعوا وأطيعوا وأنفقوا خيرا لأنفسكم. يا عباد الله أوصيكم وإياي بتقوى الله وطاعته وأحذركم وإياي عن معصيته ومخالفته. قال الرسول صلى الله عليه و سلم: تركت فيكم أمرين لن تضلوا ما تمسكتم بهما كتاب الله و سنة نبيه
The Messenger said, “I have left with you two matters which, if you hold firm to them you will never go astray - the Book of Allah and the Sunna of his Prophet.”
There is a common misunderstanding, perpetuated by many modern scholars that the word hadith is synonymous with Sunna. For example, Abdur-Rahman Doi says in his book, ‘Shariah: The Islamic Law”, “The Prime Sources of the religion of Islam are the Qur'an and the Hadith.” This is not the case! The two words refer to different things, as is shown by the fact that Imam Malik was described as being an imam of hadith and an imam of sunna, clearly indicating that the two words indicate different things: Sunna refers to the practice of the Messenger of Allah, while hadith refers to a verbal transmission from the Messenger of Allah, reporting what he said or did. In some cases the two terms overlap such as when the hadith reports something that was part of the practice of the Messenger of Allah at the end of his affair and in some cases they differ, such as when the hadith reports something that was not part of the practice of the Messenger of Allah at the end of his affair and which no Muslim acts upon despite its being authentic and sahih. Thus hadith is more general in meaning than sunna since it includes both things that are part of the sunna and things that are not, and more specialised since it is only one of the things upon which sunna is based, the others being ‘amal (or practice), akhlaq (qualities of character) and ahwal (states).
The first of these, ‘amal, was the main source of the sunna for the Companions and the other early Muslims - they simply acted as they saw the Prophet act on a day to day basis, following his injunction,
صلوا كما رأيتموني أصلي
“Pray as you saw me pray.” And the fact that they acted in a particular way indicated that they viewed that to be the Sunna. Actions speak louder than words. And that was recognised by Umar ibn al-Khattab when he said from the minbar,
أُحرِج بالله على رجل روى حديثا العملُ على خلافه
“By Allah, I will make it difficult for a man who relates a hadith different from the ‘amal.” And by one of the famous Qadis of Madina in the time of the Tabi’in, Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr ibn Umar ibn Hazm. Ibn Hazm would often pass judgement on matters concerning which hadith existed, in a manner contrary to what the hadith said. And when his brother Abdallah, a man with great knowledge of hadith, criticised him for that, pointing out that his ruling contradicted the hadith, he replied, “I know the hadith to which you refer but do not see people acting by it.” In other words, he saw the ‘amal of the people of knowledge around him as being a stronger proof than any hadith. And that view was echoed by Imam Malik, who considered ‘amal to be a stronger basis than hadith upon which to base the Sunna. For it was, as Rabi’a related in his famous statement, the equivalent of a hadith narrated by one thousand men from one thousand men, all of them in perfect accordance with each other. It was by means of this method that the adhan of Madina was passed down, having been called in the same way continuously for every prayer since the lifetime of the Prophet. And likewise, the measurements for the mudd and sa’.
And it is by means of ‘amal that each and every one of us today takes his deen, not hadith, for we follow the practices and teachings of our teachers who followed the practices of their teachers and so on in a continuous chain back to the Prophet. That is true for all the madhahib, regardless of their original usul. We do not cut off that chain, disregard our teachers, and go straight to the books and interpret things according to the way we want for that is ittibaa al-hawa and the surest path to misguidance.
Outward action is just one part of the Sunna. It is equally important that we follow the Messenger of Allah in his akhlaq, in his states and qualities of character. The Prophet said,
إن الله لا ينظر إلى صوركم ولا إلى أجسامكم ولكن ينظر إلى قلوبكم
“Allah does not look at your bodies or outer forms, but looks at your hearts.” Now one can gain a certain degree of understanding of the qualities of the Messenger of Allah and the station he held with his Lord from the Quran and hadith, but true knowledge of them can only be obtained through direct transmission, through time spent in the company of one who embodies them, by serving him and observing him until you come to embody those qualities yourself. These people are the shuyukh, with an unbroken sanad back to the Messenger of Allah. They are his true inheritors and the bearers of his light. It is through them that his sunna is preserved and kept alive among us. Allah says,
وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ فِيكُمْ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ
the translation of which is, “Know that the Messenger of Allah is among you.” His sunna and his light will always be with us so long as we keep company with the men of Allah. If you truly want the sunna, then they are the ones whom you should be with, not those who simply give it lip service or relegate it to the superficial. We ask Allah to make us people of the Sunna. And to increase us in love of His Messenger and love of those who have inherited his light. And to keep us forever in their company.
إِنَّ اللهَ وَمَلَائِكَتَهُ يُصَلُّونَ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ، يَا أَيُهَا الذِينَ آمَنُواْ صَلُّواْ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلِّمُواْ تَسْلِيماً. اللَّهُمَّ صَلِّ وَسَلِّمْ وَبَارِكْ عَلَيْهِ وَعَلَى آلِهِ وَصَحْبِهِ أَجْمَعِينَ. وَارْضَ اللَّهُمَّ عَنِ الْخُلَفَاءِ الرَّاشِدِينَ أَبِي بَكْرٍ وَعُمَرَ وَعُثْمَانَ وَعَلِيٍّ، وَعَنْ سَائِرِ الصَّحَابَةِ أَجْمَعِينَ، خُصُوصاً اِلأَنْصَارَ مِنْهُمْ وَالمُهَاجِرِينَ، وَعَنِ التَّابِعِينَ وَتَابِعِي التَّابِعِينَ وَمَنْ تَبِعَهُمْ بِإِحْسَانٍ إِلَى يَوْمِ الدِّينِ.
اللَّهُمَّ اهْدِ وُلَاةَ أُمُورِ المُسْلِمِينَ لِمَا يُرْضِيكَ وَلِاتِّبَاعِ سُنَّةِ نَبِيِّكَ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ، وَثَبِّتْ أَقْدَامَهُمْ عَلَى الصِّرَاطِ المُسْتَقِيمِ، وَأَصْلِحْهُمْ يَا رَبَّ الْعَالَمِينَ.
اللَّهُمَّ بَارِكْ عَلَى شَيْخِنَا، وَعَلَى أَمِيرِنَا، وَعَلَى جَمِيعِ أُمَرَاءِ وَزُعَمَاءِ المُسْلِمِينَ.
اللَّهُمَّ بَارِكْ عَلَى المُسْلِمِينَ فِي هَذِهِ المَدِينَةِ، وَوَفِّقْهُمْ لِمَا تُحِبُّهُ وَتَرْضَاهُ يَا أَكْرَمَ الأَكْرَمِينَ.
اللَّهُمَّ أَعِزَّ الإِسْلَامَ وَالمُسِْلمِينَ (3) وَاخْذُلِ الْكُفْرَ وَالْكَافِرِينَ، وَانْصُرِ المُجَاهِدِينَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللهِ. وَاجْعَلْ كَلِمََتَكَ هِيَ العُلْيَا وَكَلِمَةَ الْكُفْرِ هِيَ السُّفْلَى.
رَبَّنَا ءَاتِنَا فِي الدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةً وَفِي الآخِرَةِ حَسَنَةً وَقَِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ.
إِنَّ اللهَ يَامُرُ بِالْعَدْلِ وَالإِحْسَانِ وَإِيتَاءِ ذِي الْقُرْبَى، وَيَنْهَى عَنِ الْفَحْشَاءِ وَالمُنكَرِ وَالْبَغْيِ، يَعِظُكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَذَّكَّرُونَ، وَلَذِكْرُ اللهِ أَكْبَرُ وَاللهُ يَعْلَمُ مَا تَصْنَعُونَ. وَقُومُواْ إِلَى صَلاتِكُمْ يَرْحَمُكُمُ اللهُ.