Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih Al-‘Uthaymeen
What is the (means of) refutation against the one who says that the Sunnah is not a proof, due to there being weak Ahadeeth and those which are lies; for if it were a proof, like the Qur’aan, then Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic, would have preserved it?
He who says that the Sunnah is not a proof and he intends by the Sunnah everything which is ascribed to the Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam), from that which is Saheeh, Hasan, or weak; then he is correct from one perspective and he is refuted from another perspective. It is said to him: Your generality in saying that the Sunnah is not a proof is an error. It is a must that details be provided. It is said: That which is ascribed to the Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) and is not authentic then it is not attributed to him at all and it is not correct for us to say that it is from the Sunnah of the Messenger or from the Sunnah. Rather, it is abandoned at its origin. So it is not correct to apply the term ‘Sunnah’ to it.
As for that which is authentically reported from the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) then it is a proof, without doubt. If it were not a proof then the majority of the legislation would be invalid. This is because most of the legislation is established by way of the Sunnah.
The Sunnah, as you know, is either a basis (in itself) or it explains the Qur’aan, or it provides detail for that which is ambiguous, or it restricts that which is unrestricted, or it makes specific that which is general. Therefore, it is a proof, without doubt. Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic, said:
- مَنْ يُطِعِ الرَّسُولَ فَقَدْ أَطَاعَ اللَّهَ
He who obeys the Messenger (Muhammad), has indeed obeyed Allaah (An-Nisa 4:80)
- وَمَن يَعْصِ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ فَإِنَّ لَهُ نَارَجَهَنَّمَ
And whosoever disobeys Allaah and His Messenger, then verily, for him is the Fire of Hell. (Al-Jinn 72:23)
Allaah also said:
- وَمَا آتَاكُمُ الرَّسُولُ فَخُذُوهُ وَمَا نَهَاكُمْ عَنْهُ فَانْتَهُوا
And whatsoever the Messenger (Muhammad) gives you, take it, and whatsoever he forbids you, abstain (from it). (Al-Hashr 59:7)
Allaah also said:
- قُلْ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ تُحِبُّونَ اللَّهَ فَاتَّبِعُونِي يُحْبِبْكُمُ اللَّهُ
Say (O Muhammad): “If you (really) love Allaah then follow me Allaah will love you. (Aali Imran 3:31)
The verses in this regard are many. So he who rejects acting upon the Sunnah then he has rejected acting upon the Qur’aan, without doubt. This is because the Qur’aan proves that the Sunnah which the Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) has come with and is authentically narrated from him is from the Legislation of Allaah. Hence it is upon the one who said this statement to correct it, and say: That which is ascribed to the Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) is divided into two categories:
- 1. A category which is not the Sunnah and thus is not a proof.
2. A category which is the Sunnah and is therefore a proof.
As for his statement: If it were a proof then Allaah would have preserved it; for it is from the religion of Allaah. Then it is said to him: Yes, this is correct. And Allaah, the Exalted, has preserved it, and for Allaah is the praise. So Allaah has decreed that there be from this Ummah Imaams and scholars who distinguish the Saheeh from the weak, just as the doctor distinguishes the one who has a terminal illness from the one who has an illness which is not terminal; like the man who is pure is distinguished from the man who is impure. They have distinguished them and have sifted through them and clarified that which is authentic from that which is weak. And thus the Sunnah was made sound—and for Allaah is the praise—and it continues to be sound. From the books there are those who the scholars agree upon that which is within it, such as Saheeh Al-Bukhaaree and Saheeh Muslim. That which is within the two of them is authentic, to the point that the scholars say that that which is within them is, in fact, knowledge and not mere speculation. This is because the Ummah has met them with acceptance; and it is impossible that this Islamic Ummah would be in agreement upon falsehood.
Translated by Raha ibn Donald Batts
Source: Silsilah Liqa’aat Al-Baab Al-Maftooh No. 28
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