The Messenger of Allaah explained to the people -completely and clearly-what their Lord had revealed for them; both the detailed matters and the important ones, the apparent matters and the hidden ones, to such an extent that he taught them what they needed to know with respect to matters of eating, drinking, marriage, clothing and housing. So he taught them the ettiquettes of eating, drinking and relieving one's self; the ettiquettes of marriage; the ettiquettes of clothing and of entering and leaving the house - just as he taught them what they needed to know with regard to the worship of Allaah -The Mighty and Majestic-such as purification, Prayer, Zakaah, fasting, Pilgrimage and other than this.
He taught them what they needed to know with regard to the social behaviour with the people, such as kindness to parents, keeping ties of kinship, good companionship with friends and neighbours and other than this.He taught them how to conduct themselves in matters of buying and selling, pawning, leaving deposits, leasing, renting, giving and receiving donations, and other such matter, to such an extent that Abu Dharr(rta) said: "Indeed the Messenger of Allaah passed away and there is not a bird flapping its wings in the sky, except that he mentioned to us some knowledge about it" (2)
Foundations of the Deen
Salmaan al-Farsee (rta) narrated that it was said to him:Your Prophet has taught you everything, even how to relieve yourselves?So he said to them:"Yes indeed! And he has prohibited us from facing the qiblah (direction of prayer) whilst relieving ourselves..."(3) Along with this, he also taught them the foundation of all these acts of worship, manners and social interactions.
This foundation being what the worshippers hold as 'aqeedah (belief) concerning Allaah-the deity who is worshipped and who alone deservs to be worshippped -regarding His Dhaat (Essence), His Names, His Attributes and His Actions, and what follows from this regard to His Universal Laws and His prescribed Laws, which is based upon His ultimate Wisdom and utmost mercy.The Companions learnt all this from the Prophet, clearly and without any ambiguity, and all this was built upon the complete "Tawheed" of Allaah (to single out Allaah alone for worship), having as its foundations two great pillars: Affirmation and Negation.
As for affirmation: It is affirming what is due to Allaah-the Most High-from the rights of His Lordship, worship, and His names, attributes and actions.
As for negation: Then it is negating any partners to Allaah-the Most High-in all that is due to Him.
The People of Sunnah
Those who followed in goodness (ie in aqeedah and manhaj) from those who reached the period of the companions , or those who came after them from the Imaams of guidance-who deserved the Pleasure of Allaah - remained upon this path, as Allaah-the Most High-said:
"The first to embrace Islaam from the Muhaajireen(those who migrated from Makkah to al-Madeenah) and the Ansaar(those who lived in al-Madeenah and aided them after migration) and those who follow them in goodness(correct aqeedah and manhaj).Allaah is well pleased with them, as they are well pleased with Him.He has prepared for them Gardens beneath which rivers flow, to dwell therein forever.This is the suporeme achievement"(4)
Then they were followed by those who came later, being blind to the truth, or pretending to be blind to the truth.So they went astray and led others astray either due to inabilities or shortcomings, or due to enmity and oppression. They innovated in the Deen of Allaah -the Most High - that which did not belong to it, in matters of aqeedah (beliefs), ibaadah (acts of worship) and sulook (manners).They did this by altering the texts of the Book and the Sunnah; and of it was possible, they rejected them entirely!
Brief History of the Innovated Sects
Shaykh ul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah ( d.728H) said: "And know that most of the innovations connected to 'uloom(sciences) and acts of worship occured in this Ummah at the end of the period of the Rightly guided Khaleefahs; just asa the Prophet informed, when he said: "Those of you who live long after me will see a great deal of differences. So Hold fast to my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the Rightly Guided Khaleefahs after me"...So when the period of the Rightly Guided Khaleefahs had passed and the rule of kingship appeared, deficiencies appeared in the leaders, and therefore deficiency spread also to the people of knowledge and Deen.So during the end of the rule of 'Alee (rta) - the innovation of the Khwaarij (5) and Raafidah (6) appeared; this being connected to the issue of leadership and khilaafah, and what was connected to this from actions and Shareeah rulings.
The kingship of Mu'aawiyah was a kingship of mercy, so when it passed, the rule of Yazeed came and fitnah (trials and discord) took place within it: the killling of al-Husayn in Iraaq, the fitnah of the people of Hurrah in al-Madeenah and the seige of Makkah when 'Abdullah ibn az-Zubayr made his stand. Then Yazeed passed away and the Ummah split-up. Ibn az-Zubayr in the Hijaaz, Banu Hakam in ash-Shaam (Syria, Jordan and Palestine) and the jump to power of Mukhtaar ibn Abee'Ubayd and others in 'Iraaq. All of this took place at the end of the period of the Companions, when there only remained the likes of 'Abdullah ibn 'Abaas, 'Abdullah ibn Umar, Jaabir ibn 'Abdullah, Abu Saeed al-Khudree and others. The innovations of the Qadarriyah (7) and the Murjiah (8) then occured and it was refused by those Companions who remained, as they had, along with others, refuted the innovations of the Khawaarij and the Raafidah.
A Brief Summary
Ibn al-Qayyim (d.751H) (rh) said: "The innovation of the Qadariyyah started at the end of the period of the Companions. So those that remained at the end of the periods of the Companions.So those who remained at that time, such as 'Abdullah ibn Umar, Ibn Abbas, and their like, oppsed and refuted it. Then the innovation of the Murjiah occured, after the period of the Companions, so those of the major 'Tabiyoon who faced it, refuted it.Then came the innovation of the 'Jahyimmah' (9) after the passing away of the Tabbi'oon. Its evil reached alarming proportions and the matter had become dire during the age of the Imaams such as Ahmad (d.241H) and those with him.There appeared after this, the innovation of hulool (incarnation), this appeared with, and in the time of al-Hallaaj.
So whenever Shaytaan brought about an innovation from these innovations, or from other than them, Allaah established from His party an army, those who refuted it and warned the Muslims against it-all for the sake of sincerity and sincere advice for Allaah, His book, His Messenger and the people of Islaam"(11)
Compilation of the Aqeedah
Al-Haafidh Ibn Hajr (d.852H) (rh) said: "From that which occured was:compilation of hadeeth, then tafseer, then the compilation of issues of fiqh (jurisprudence) eminating from pure opinion, and then the compilation of matters related to actions of the heart.
As for the firts matter; it was opposed by 'Umaar, Abu Moosaa and a few others whilst the majority allowed it. As for the second:It was oppsed by a group from the Tabioon such as Imaam ash-Sha'bee(d.104H) and a small group. Imaam Ahmad's opposition of this intensified.
Also from that which occured was the compilation of the sayings about Usool ud-Deen (fundamentals of the Deen). Some embarked to affirm it (ie the attributes of Allaah), whilst others negated it. The former went to the extent of making tashbeeh (resembling Allaah to his creation), whilst the latter went to the extent of making ta'teel (denying the attributes of Allah). The rejection of this from the Salaf such as Abu Haneefah(d.150H), Abu Yoosuf(d.182H) and ash-Shaafiee(d.204H), and their sayings with regards to censuring the people of Kalaam (philosphical speech and theology) is well known. The reason for such censure was that the people of 'Kalaaam' spoke about those matters which both the Prophet and his Companions remained quiet about. It is established from Maalik(d.179H) that there did not exist at the time of the Prophet nor that of AbuBakr (rta) or Umar (rta), anything from these desires - meaning: the innovation of the Khawaarij, the Raafidah and the Qadiriyyah. Indeed, those who came after the first three excellent generations expanded upon matters which the Imaams of the Tabioon and those who followed them, rejected.
The people of Kalaam did not content themselves, until they filled the Deen with issues and the sayings of the philosphers. They made this philoshopy the basis and the fundamental principle to which everything was refered back to, and all that which opposed it from the narrations (of the Prophet, his Companions and the Salaf who followd them) then ta'weel (false interpretation ) was made of them, even if they were averse to the result. Nor did they content themselves with just this.They claimed that what they had compiled was the noblest branch of knowledge and the most deserving to be acquired; and that those who did not use what they had laid down, then they were from the laymen and the ignorant ones.
So delight is for the one who clings to what the Salaf were upon, and distances himself from the innovations that the khalaf (the latecomers who oppsed the aqeedah and manhaj of the Salaf) introduced.However, if one cannot keep away from it, then let him take only that which he needs and let the way of the Salaf be his intended goal."(12)
(1)From the Shayk's introduction to his book:Taqreebut-Tadmuriyyah (pp.7-14) -slightl edited.
(2) Saheeh:Related by Ahmad (5/153), at-Tiyaalasee(n0.479)and at-Tabaranee in al-Kabeer(no.1647).Its isnaad is saheeh)
(3)Related by Muslim(1/152) and Abu Dawood(no.8)
(4)Soorah at-Tawbah 9:100
(5)The Khawaarij were the first sect in Islam to split from the way of the Prophet and his Companions.They arose in the khilaafah of 'Alee (rta) making khurooj (rebellion) against him, before the arbitration between him and Muawiyah (rta).From their false aqeedah (beliefs) is:allowing rebellion against the legitimate Muslim ruler-whether pious or wicked , and declaring the Muslim to be kaafir (disbeliever) due to a commission of a major sin. They were discussed by the Prophet as the Dogs of Hellfire. Refer to Maqaalaatul-Islaamiyeen(1/168) of Abul-Hasan ash-Asharee, al-Bidaayah(8/22-44) of Ibn Katheer and Fathul-Baree(12/282-302) of Ibn Hajr.
(6) The Raafidah (the rejectors) are an extreme sect of the Sheeah who rejected Zayd ibn Alee ibn 'Alee ibn al-Husayn due to his refusal to condemn Abu Bakr and Umar (rta).They rapidly deteriorated in 'aqeedah', morals and Deen-until the present day-where their beliefs are those represented by the Ithna Ashariyyah Shee'ahs of Iraan. From their false beliefs are: declaring all but three or five of the companions to be disbelievers, the belief that their imaams have knowledge of the Unseen past, present and future, considering the imaamah to be one of the main pillars of eemaan (faith) and the incompleteness of the Quraan. Refer to: Maqalaatul-Islamiyeen (1/65), al-Farq baynal-Firaq (no.21) of Abdul-Qaahir al-Baghdaadee and Talbees Iblees (pp.94-100) of Ibn ul-Jawzee.
(7)The Qadariyyah are the follwers of Mabad ibn al-Juhanee, and from their false beliefs are; that Allah has no prior knowledge of anything until it come into existence; that it is people -and not Allah -who are creators of their own actions, denying aqeedah in the Punishment of the Grave, and denying that the authentic hadeeth is an evidence for the aqeedah, unless it is related in mutaawatir form. Refer to al-Milal wan-Nihal(1/72) of ash-Shahrastaanee and Sawnul-Mantaq wal-Kalaam (p.160) of as-Suyotee.
(8) The Murjiaah are those who reject that actions are a part of eemaan (faith) and they say that eemaan is affirmation of the heart and atatement of the tingue only.The extreme from amonngst them limit eemaan to belief of the heart only .They also deny that eemaan increases and decreases.Refer to al-Maqaalat (1/214) and al-Farq baynal-Firaq (p.202)
(9) The Jahyimmah are the followers of Jahm ibn Safwaan, who unleashed upon this Ummah the horrific innovation of ta'teel (denial of Allah's attributes) either directly, or by twisting the meaning of Hand of Allah to mean:His power and generosity. They also deny that Allah is above creation, above His Throne, as well as holding the belief that Paradise and Hellfire are not ever-lasting. Refer to ar-Radd 'alal-Jahyimmah by Imaam Ahmad and also ad-Daarimee and al-Ibaanah (p.141) of Abdul-Hasan al-Assharee.
(10) Majmooul-Fataawaa (10/354-368) of Ibn Taymiyyah.
(11) Tadheeb Sunan Abee Dawood (7/61) of Ibn al-Qayyim.
(12) FathulBaree (13/253) of Ibn Hajar al-'Asqalaanee.
(13) Ar-Radd 'alal-Jahyimmah waz-Zaanadiqah( p.2) of Imaam Ahmad.