The book before you is an explanation of a concise yet great work by a noble Scholar of Islaam from the third century of Islaam, may Allaah’s mercy be upon him. He compiled these great works, in order to make clear to the people the core and fundamental principles upon which Islaam is established.
Imaam Ahmad bin Hanbal took these principles from the texts of the Qur’aan and the pure Prophetic Sunnah, as well as the Companions and those who succeeded them. His adversaries, in his time and after expended much effort in spreading misinformation regarding his belief and methodology.
However, his works show that he was a true traditionalist in the path of the Messenger of Allaah and his Companions. Imaam ash-Shaafi’ee (died 204H) said, “I left Baghdad and I did not leave behind me a man better and having more knowledge or greater understanding (fiqh), nor having more piety than Ahmad bin Hanbal.”
This book contains the texts of three treatises of the Imaam regarding the belief of the orthodox Muslims. We have included in total ten chapters that further expound and clarify the true Muslim creed. This book therefore is an excellent foundation in understanding the belief of the earliest generation of Muslims.
The Sunnah Upon Which the Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) Died
This treatise has been mentioned in Tabaqaatul-Hanaabilah, 1/130-131, in the biography of al-Hasan ibn Ismaa’eel ibn ar-Rab’iyy. Within this treatise is the mention of what ninety men from among the Taabi’een, the scholars of the Muslims and of the Salaf and the Jurists of the various cities have agreed upon in the matters of ‘aqeedah (creed).
Abul-Husain Muhammad ibn Abee Ya’laa said: Al-Mubaarak informed us, saying: ‘Abdul-‘Azeez al-Azjee informed us, saying: Aboo Bakr al-Mufeed narrated to us: Al-Hasan ibn Ismaa’eel ar-Rab’iyy narrated to us, saying: Ahmad ibn Hanbal, the Imaam of Ahlus-Sunnah, the one showing patience at the time of severe trial, said to me:
Ninety men from among the Taabi’een, the scholars of the Muslims and of the Salaf and the Jurists of the various cities1 are [unanimously] agreed that the Sunnah upon which the Messenger of Allaah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) died is:
1 The first: Being pleased and content with the Qadaa (Ordainment) of Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic, and submitting to His command, having patience upon His ruling, taking that which He has commanded and refraining from that which He has forbidden.
2 Having faith in Qadar, its good and its evil.
3 Abandoning quarrelling and argumentation in the religion.
4 Wiping of the khuffs [leather socks].2
5 Participating in jihaad with every khaleefah, whether righteous or sinful.
6 Performing [funeral] prayer over whomever dies from the people of the qiblah.
7 That faith consists of speech and action, it increases with obedience and decreases with disobedience.
8 That the Qur’aan is the Speech of Allaah [which was] revealed upon the heart of His Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم). It is not created, in whatever fashion it is recited or rehearsed.
9 Having patience under the banner of the one in authority, in whatever condition he may be in, just or unjust.
10 That we do not set out [in revolt] against the Rulers with the sword, even if they are unjust and oppressive.
11 That we do not declare anyone from among the people of Tawheed a disbeliever even if they commit the major sins.
12 Refraining from [talking about] whatever occurred between the Companions of the Messenger of Allaah (صلى الله عليه وسلم).
13 That the best of mankind after the Messenger of Allaah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) are: Aboo Bakr, ‘Umar, ‘Uthmaan, and ‘Alee, the nephew of the Messenger of Allaah (صلى الله عليه وسلم).
14 Asking for Allaah’s mercy for all of the Companions of the Messenger of Allaah (صلى الله عليه وسلم), and also for his (صلى الله عليه وسلم) offspring, his wives and his kinship through marriage, may the pleasure of Allaah be upon them all.
This is the Sunnah – stick fast to it and you will be safe.
Taking it is guidance and abandoning it is going astray.”
End of the Treatise
1 See their names and explanations of their sayings and beliefs in the vast book which no Muslim can be without for knowing the way and the sayings of the scholars and the leaders of the Salaf in matters of belief – Sharh Usoolil-I’tiqaad Ahlis-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah of the Imaam al-Laalikaa’ee (rahimahullah ta’aala).
2 Aboo Bakr al-Marroodhee said, “I heard Aboo ‘Abdullaah (i.e., Imaam Ahmad) and he had been asked about a people who do not agree to wiping over the khuffs say, ‘They are Khawaarij, people from the Ibaadees.’” Reported in Sharh I’tiqaad Ahmad, pp. 7-8. And Sufyaan ath-Thawree said in the ‘I’tiqaad’ he wrote down for Shu’ayb ibn Harb, “O Shu’ayb ibn Harb, what I have written down for you will not benefit you unless you hold that wiping over the khuffs and not removing them is better in your view than washing the feet,” reported in Usoolil-‘Itiqaad Ahlis-Sunnah of al-Laalikaa’ee, 1/152. Then this matter was included by the scholars amongst the matters of ‘aqeedah as a further mark of distinction between the people of the Sunnah and the innovators, from the Khawaarij and the Raafidah, who denied this sunnah.
Source: Foundations of the Sunnah by the Revered Imaam, the Scholar, the Teacher, the Reviver of the Sunnah, the Subduer of Innovation, Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Hanbal d.241H, English Translation Additional Footnotes and Chapters by Amjad ibn Muhammad Rafiq, Salafi Publications, 2nd Edition,.