Sharhu Sunnah : Lesson 02 : Imam Barbahari’s foreword
Dawud Burbank [Audio|English]
Imaam al-Barbahaaree rahimahullaah said,
الحمد لله الذي هدانا للإسلام ومن علينا به وأخرجنا في خير أمة فنسأله التوفيق لما يحب ويرضى والحفظ مما يكره ويسخط
“All praise is for Allaah who guided us to Islaam and favoured us with it and who brought us out within the best nation so we ask Him for success in attaining that which He loves and is pleased with and for preservation from that which He detests and which He is angry with.”
The Explanation: (Transcription of the audio) [ Download PDF]
This is the opening address of the book so he began with al-hamdulillaah (all praise is for Allaah) acting in accordance with the Sunnah. So the Prophet sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam used to praise Allaah and extol Him in his letters and in his addresses, and likewise the Salafus-Saalih (the Pious Predecessors) and the People of Knowledge. They would begin their books with bismillaahir-Rahmaanir-Raheem following the example of the Mighty Book (the Qur·aan), and with al-hamdulillaahi Rabbil `aalameen (all praise is for Allaah the Lord of the whole of creation) following the action of the Prophet sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam, since when he wanted to give an address or to speak or to draw attention to something he would praise Allaah and extol Him (repeat words of praise upon Him)1. Then he would explain whatever he wanted to explain, `alayhis-salaatu was-salaam, (may Allaah extol him and grant him peace and security). So the author (Imaam al-Barbahaaree) followed this methodology, following the example of those who came before, of the Salaf and it is beginning with al-hamdulillaah (all praise is for Allaah).
And the meaning of al-hamdulillaah, all praise is for Allaah, is that it means, all types of praise are for Allaah the Mighty and Majestic; and al-hamd (praise) means to praise and extol the one that you are praising. So Allaah, the Majestic and Most High, is praised for His Self (His Thaat) and He is to be praised for His Names and His Attributes and He, the Perfect, is praised for His Actions, so all types of praise are for Him, because all blessings are from Him, He the Perfect; and as for other than Him, then he is only praised in accordance with the level of his fine treatment. However unrestricted, complete and perfect and comprehensive (covering all types of) praise is for Allaah the Mighty and Majestic. So therefore it is not permissible for you to say, “Al-hamdu to so and so” (all praise is to such and such person) with the meaning of it being all-embracing. This is not permissible except for Allaah; just as occurs in the Qur·aan:
All praise is for Allaah the Lord of the whole of creation, the Extremely Merciful One, the Bestower of Mercy (Sooratul-Faatihah (1), aayahs 2 and 3)
All praise is for Allaah, He who created the heavens and the earth and who made the darkness and the light. (Sooratul-An`aam (6), aayah 1)
All praise is for Allaah, the One who created the heavens and the earth. (Soorah Faatir (35), aayah 1)
As for your saying, “I thank so and so,” or, “I praise so and so for such and such a thing,” meaning for that specific thing on account of which you are praising him or thanking him, then there is no harm. But as for your saying, “al-hamdu, (all praise, unrestricted praise) is for so and so,” then this is not permissible except with regard to Allaah the Perfect and Most High.
And ‘Allaah’ is a name from His names, He the Most High, and its meaning is alma·looh al-ma`bood, the One who is venerated, the One who is worshipped because uluhiyyah means `ubudiyyah (worship).
And it (Allaah) is a name that cannot be used except for Allaah and no-one besides Allaah can ever have it as his name. So even the tyrants and the disbelievers and the atheists, none of them called himself ‘Allaah’. The Pharaoh did not say, “I am Allaah,” rather he said:
I am your highest Lord (Sooratun-Naazi`aat (79), aayah 24)
So this is a name specific to Allaah the Mighty and Majestic.
And rabbil-`aalameen – Ar-Rabb means the owner who has the right to control, and al- `aalameen is the plural of `aalam and it is all of the created things; and Allaah, He is their Lord (Rabb) and their Creator and their Controller and the One whom they worship and He is their God.
His saying, “All praise is for Allaah who guided us to Islaam” – Islaam is the greatest blessing. He the Most High said:
This day have I perfected your religion for you, and completed My favour upon you, and am pleased with Islaam as your religion. (Sooratul-Maa·idah (5), aayah 3)
So through Islaam the favour was perfected upon the Muslims; and Allaah the Majestic and Most High says:
Say, Let them rejoice at the Bounty of Allaah and at His Mercy
(Soorah Yunus (10), aayah 58)
The ‘Bounty of Allaah’ (here) is Islaam and the ‘Mercy’ (referred to in the aayah) is the Qur’aan so therefore let the people rejoice at Islaam and the Qur’aan .
And this (‘All praise is for Allaah who guided us to Islaam and favoured us with it’) contains acknowledgement from you that the bounty/favour is from Allaah in His guiding you to Islaam and His directing you to it and making you firm upon it. This is a favour/bounty from Allaah. It has not come about through your effort, nor through your ability, rather it is success given by Allaah, the Perfect and Most High, so He is the One who guided you; and therefore the people of Paradise will say when they enter Paradise on the Day of Resurrection:
All praise is for Allaah the One who guided us to this and we would not have been guided had Allaah not guided us. (Sooratul-A`raaf (7), aayah 43)
His saying, “And He favoured us with it” – Islaam is a minnah, a favour from Allaah, the Perfect and Most High, since nothing is obligatory upon Allaah towards anyone, rather He just favours His servants with Islaam and with blessings and with well-being and with provision.
His saying, “And he brought us out in the best nation” – taken from His Saying He the Most High:
You are the best nation brought out for mankind
(Soorah Aale `Imraan (3), aayah 110)
So His saying, “kuntum” “you are” (as Imaam al-Baghawee and others explained it) this is an address to the Muslims. “The best nation” meaning the best of the nations, and al-ummah, nation, what it means is a group of people. “The best nation brought out for mankind” – consider His Saying, “for mankind”. So the best of this nation do not restrict themselves to themselves rather they transmit benefit to mankind in calling them (giving them da`wah) and in jihaad and in teaching and in guiding. It is not sufficient that a person learns himself and acts in himself and abandons the rest of the people; rather he must spread the call, propagate the knowledge and propagate the good and call to Allaah, and command the good and forbid the evil so that he is an active participant in the society of the Muslims. So His Saying, “brought out for mankind” its meaning is, ‘they were not brought out just for themselves alone, but rather Allaah brought them out for mankind’. 
His saying “So we ask Him for success in attaining that which He loves and is pleased with” – a person should ask Allaah for firmness even though he knows the Truth and acts upon it and holds it as his belief, then still he should not feel secure that he will not deviate or be put to trial, such that trials and tribulations come to him and overcome him so that he strays away from the path of Allaah, and therefore, he sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam said:
“Ya Muqallib al-quloob thabbit qalbee `alaa deenik.”
“O Turner of the hearts, make my heart firm upon your religion.” 
And al-Khaleel, the especially beloved one, (the Prophet Ibraaheem) alayhis-salaatu was-salaam said in his supplication:
And keep me and my sons far removed from worshipping the idols. O my Lord they have caused the misguidance of many of the people. (Soorah Ibraaheem (14), aayahs 35 and 36)
He feared for himself, and likewise the stronger a person’s eemaan in Allaah is then the more he will fear and not feel secure with regards to trials and tribulations and he will not commend himself (declare himself pure, good, fine and so forth) rather he will always and continually ask Allaah for firmness and for a fine conclusion to his life and he will fear having an evil conclusion and he will fear trials and tribulations and he will fear deviation and misguidance and the callers to evil.
His saying “And for preservation from that which He detests and is angry with” – so that He guides us and grants us that which He loves and is pleased with, with regard to actions and sayings and beliefs and that He keeps us away from whatever angers Him from sayings and actions and beliefs, since He is the One who guides, He the Perfect and Most High, and He is the One who grants success in attaining correctness and He is the One who shows the correct way and the One who guides the people to it.
 Just as occurs in the story of the Islaam of the Dimaad al-Azdee radiyAllaahu `anhu.
Translator’s side point: This is a long hadeeth which they quote a part of here in the footnote, the story of how the noble companion Dimaad from the tribe of Azd became Muslim. It occurs in Saheeh Muslim in the book of Jumu`ah from a hadeeth of ibn `Abbaas radiyAllaahu `anhumaa.
To mention something briefly from the story then it was that whilst Allaah’s Messenger sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam was still in Makkah there used to be a man called Dimaad who used to perform ruqyah (recite something) upon people who had been afflicted by the jinn, so then the story reached him that Allaah’s Messengers sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam is such a person that he’s saying these new things and the people claim things about him, that he’s been afflicted by jinn or the like. So Dimaad said, “I will go and I will see what is with this man.” So he came to Allaah’s Messenger sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam and asked him to speak to him. When he came he presented that to Allaah’s Messenger sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam that if you have some jinn then I can recite over you and bring a remedy about for you. So Allaah’s Messenger sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam said to him,
“Innal-hamdalillaah nahmaduhu wa nasta`eenuhu man yahdihillaahu falaa mudilla lah, wa man yudlil falaa haadeeya lah. Ash.hadu an laa ilaaha illAllaah wahadahu laa shareeka lah, wa anna Muhammadan `abduhu wa rasooluhu amma ba`d.”
“All praise is for Allaah we praise Him and we seek His aid, whomever Allaah guides then no-one can misguide him and whomever He misguides then no-one can guide him and I bear witness that none has the right to be worshipped except Allaah alone with no partner for Him and that Muhammad is His slave and His Messenger to proceed.”
So when Dimaad heard these words he asked Allaah’s Messenger sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam to repeat and Allaah’s Messenger sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam repeated these words three times over; each time he was listening and reflecting. And then Dimaad said, “I have heard the speech of the soothsayers and I have heard the speech of the sorcerers and I have heard the speech of the poets and this is none of them, so give me your hand that I will give you the pledge upon Islaam.” So Allaah’s Messenger sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam asked him, “Is it just for you or is it for your people as well?” So he said, “Rather it is for my people as well.” So he accepted Islaam and the narration mentions later on that Allaah’s Messenger sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam sent out a detachment of an army that passed his people by, so someone in the army mentioned, “Did you take anything from those people as you passed them by?” So they said, “Yes this pot for purifying.” So they said “Return it to them because that is the people of Dimaad and he accepted Islaam on behalf of himself and his people.”
The hadeeth is reported by Muslim (no. 868).
Translator’s side point: This explanation was reported by Imaam Muhammad ibn Jareer at-Tabaree in his tafseer from some of the Taabi`een, from Qataadah and from… (recording cuts off)… just the same way as Shaykh al-Fowzaan explained it here.
 Translator’s side point: In explanation of this aayah (aayah 110 of Soorah Aale `Imraan), Imaam atTirmithee reports in his Jaami’ in his Sunan, in the Book of Tafseer, with a chain of narration declared hasan and hadeeth declared hasan by Shaykh al-Albaanee, from Bahz ibn Hakeem from his father from his grandfather that he heard the Prophet sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam say with regard to His Saying, “kuntum khayra ummatin ukhrijat lin-naas” he said, “You are the completion of 70 nations; you are the best of them and the most honourable of them with Allaah.”
Al-Bukhaaree also brings a narration from Aboo Hurayrah radiyAllaahu `anhu that he said with regard to this aayah, “You are the best of the people for the people. You bring them with chains around their necks until they enter into Islaam.” (Meaning you capture them and bring them, and then they see the beauty of Islaam and then enter into Islaam). Shaykh al-Albaanee points out in his abridgement of alBukhaaree that Aboo Hurayrah also reports a similar narration directly from Allaah’s Messenger sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam but he doesn’t mention tafseer of the aayah, he just mentions that your Lord is amazed at people who enter Paradise in chains.
 Reported by Imaam Ahmad in al-Musnad and Ibn Maajah in his Sunan and an-Nasaa·ee in as-Sunan al-Kubraa and Ibn Hibaan in his Saheeh and al-Haakim in al-Mustadrak `alas-Saheehayn, and he declared it authentic to the standard of Muslim and ath-Thahabee agreed. And al-Busayree said in Misbaahuz-Zujaajah (his checking of Ibn Maajah), “Its chain of narration is saheeh.”
Translator’s side point Shaykh al-Albaanee rahimahullaah likewise declared this hadeeth saheeh.
Ithaaful-Qaaree bit-Ta`leeqaat `alaa Sharhis-Sunnah
by Shaykh Saalih ibn Fowzaan al-Fowzaan hafizahullaah
Volume 1, Pages 49-54
Translated by Aboo Talhah Daawood Burbank, rahimahullaah, on 13th July 2009.
Points discussed by Shaykh Saalih al-Fowzaan hafizahullaah in this excerpt include:
• praising Allaah
• Allaah’s favour in guiding us to Islaam
• the meaning of ‘the best nation’
• we should not feel secure that we will not deviate
• two du`aas (supplications) made by two Messengers `alayhimas-salaatu was-salaam
Transcribed by Umm Safiyyah Madeehah Ahmad
Posted with kind permission from Dawud Burbank rahimahullaah
Listen to the full Audio Series of Sharhu Sunnah
Sharh-us-Sunnah – Shaykh Saalih Fawzaan – Dawood Burbank [Audio|En]
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