Bismillaah Al-Hamdulillaah wa salatu wa salaamu ‘ala rasulullaah
Companions Did Not Differ in ‘Aqeedah, Nor Did They Innovate; Rather, they Refuted Bid’ah from its Start
Shaikh Ahmad an-Najmee (rahimahullaah) was asked: Was there any differing amongst the Salaf – and at the head of them the companions – was there any differing among them in the affairs of ‘Aqeedah, or in the affairs of the fundamentals of the Religion? And if it was present, does this mean that it is okay for us to leave off speech about people of innovation (bid’ah), because the companions did not refute one another in the affairs of ‘Aqeedah?
Shaikh Ahmad an-Najmee (rahimahullaah) answered:
It did not appear from the companions – may Allaah be pleased with them – innovation. And none from amongst them innovated in the religion. And the proof for this is when Abu Musa al-Ash’aree – may Allaah be pleased with him – and those who were with him saw those people sitting in circles in the masjid in Koofah.* And every circle had a person saying, “glorify Allaah 100 times,” and they would glorify Allaah 100 times. And he would say, “say Allaahu akbar 100 times,” and they would say this 100 times. And he would say to them, “praise Allaah 100 times,” and they would praise Him 100 times. Until the end of that which was stated.
They (the companions) rebuked this with a severe censure. And they went to the home of ‘Abdullaah ibn Mas’ood (radiallaahu ‘anhu), and they waited by the door for him to come out, as he was the one whom ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab (radiallaahu ‘anhu) had (appointed as) a teacher and reciter in Koofah. So when he came out, Abu Musa said to him that he saw a thing in the masjid, and ‘Abdullaah ibn Mas’ood began to ask him about this particular thing that he had witnessed. And then he (Abu Musa) said, “if you were to live, then you would see it.”
So when ‘Abdullaah ibn Mas’ood entered the masjid, he was shocked by what he witnessed. So he stood in front of them and said: “Oh people, either you are upon a way more guided than the way of Muhammad – salallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam – or you have opened the door of misguidance. There are the clothes of the Messenger of Allaah – salallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam – which are still in tact. And his companions are still present. And his bowl, which is unbroken, is there. And with that you innovate?”
They said, “Oh Aba ‘Abdur-Rahman, we only intended good.”
[So the shaikh asked:] So what did he (Ibn Mas’ood) say to them?
He (Ibn Mas’ood) said: How many intended good, but do not achieve it?
[The shaikh went on to mention:] This proves to us that innovation in the Religion began at this time, and there did not appear innovation among the companions, and they were in agreement in the fundamentals of the Religion and in the ‘Aqeedah. There was no differing in this among them.
And therefore, the Messenger of Allaah – salallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam – stated: There will be two great groups from my Ummah who will fight one another. And their da’wah – their call, their belief – will be one. And this took place in Sifeen and al-Jamal. And Siffeen was much worse, lasting almost three months. And a great number of Muslims were killed.
So the statement of the Messenger of Allaah – salallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam: There will be two great groups from my Ummah who will fight one another. And their da’wah – their call, their belief – will be one. This statement of the Messenger of Allaah – salallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam – means —–> that there was no differing amongst them in ‘Aqeedah, nor in the fundamentals of the religion. This proves that there was not present any differing among them in this.
Translated by: Abul Hasan Malik (hafidhahullaah) Source: Tape: Al-‘Allaamah Ahmad bin Yahya An-Najmee, Q&A [rahimahullaah]
* (This narration is reported by ad-Daarimi in his Sunan (1/79))
For those who have Sharh-us-Sunnah by Imam Barbaharee, this narration appears in the footnotes (as one of the supporting proofs) of the seventh point: Beware of small innovations because they grow until they become large.
1. A striking example of how small innovations lead a person into committing major innovations is found in the narration reported by ad-Daarimee in his Sunan (1/79):
‘Amr ibn Salmah said: We used to sit by the door of ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ood before the Morning Prayer, so that when he came out we would walk with him to the mosque. (One day) Abu Moosaa al-Ash’aree came to us and said, “Has Abu ‘Abd ar-Rahmaan come out yet?” We replied, “No.” So he sat down with us until he came out. When he came out, we all stood along with him, so Abu Moosaa said to him, “O Abu ‘Abd ar-Rahmaan! I have just seen something in the mosque which I deemed to be evil, but all praise is for Allaah, I did not see anything except good.” He enquired, “Then what is it?” (Abu Moosaa) replied, “If you live you will see it. I saw in the mosque people sitting in circles awaiting the Prayer. In each circle they had pebbles in their hands and a man would say ‘repeat Allaahu Akbar a hundred times.’ So they would repeat it a hundred times. Then he would say, ‘say Laa ilaaha illallaah a hundred times.’ So they would say it a hundred times. Then he would say, ‘say Subhaanallaah a hundred times.’ So they would say it a hundred times.” (Ibn Mas’ood) asked, “What did you say to them?” (Abu Moosaa) said, “I did not say anything to them. Instead I waited to hear you view or what you declared.” (Ibn Mas’ood) replied, “Would that you had ordered them to count up the evil deeds they acquired and assured them that their good deeds would not be lost!” Then we went along with him (Ibn Mas’ood) until he came to one of these circles and stood and said, “What is this which I see you doing?” They replied, “O Abu ‘Abd ar-Rahmaan! These are pebbles upon which we are counting takbeer, tahleel and tasbeeh.” He said, “Count up your evil deeds. I assure you that none of your good deeds will be lost. Woe to you, O Ummah of Muhammad (saws)! How quickly you go to destruction! These are the Companions of your Prophet and who are widespread. There are his clothes which have not yet decayed and his bowl which is unbroken. By Him in Whose Hand is my soul! Either you are upon a Religion better guided than the Religion of Muhammad (saws) or that you are opening the door of misguidance.” They said, “O Abu ‘Abd ar-Rahmaan! By Allaah, we only intended good.” He said, “How many there are who intend good but do not achieve it. Indeed Allaah’s Messenger said to us ‘A people will recite the Qur’aan but it will not pass beyound their throats.’ By Allah! I do not know, perhaps most of them are from you.” Then he left them. Umar ibn Salmah (the sub-narrator) said: We saw most of those peope fighting against us on the day of Nahrawaan, along with the Khawaarij.