“… As for the first discussion then by it I am referring to the Islamic callers whom it is assumed are not blind followers, from those who give precedence to the sayings of the Imaams who are not infallible over and above the sayings of Allaah and His Prophet who is infallible.
So when the affair, therefore, goes back to creed, and creed is taken from the Book and the Sunnah and what the Salaf were upon, because these Salaf are what is referred to in the first aayah, “And whoever contradicts and opposes the Messenger after guidance has become clear to him and follows other than the way of the Believers …,” ‘and follows other than the way of the Believers,’ Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic, did not mention this sentence in the middle of this aayah in mere jest or in vain, but rather to firmly establish a principle by it, and to lay down a foundation through it, which is: that in understanding the Book of our Lord and the Sunnah of our Prophet it is not permissible for us to rely on our intellects which are [intellects] that have come later in time [than the Salaf] and which differ in their understanding.
The Muslims will only be following the Book and the Sunnah, both in principle and [upon a firm] foundation, when they add to the Book and the Sunnah: “… and what the Pious Predecessors were upon.” Because the text of this aayah includes [the fact that] it is obligatory upon us not to oppose the Messenger, not to contradict and oppose the Messenger, just as it includes [the fact that] we should not oppose and follow a path other than that of the Believers.
So both the first and second restrictions mentioned in this aayah mean that it is obligatory on us to follow the Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) and to abandon contradicting and opposing him, just as it is obligatory on us to follow the path of the Believers and not to oppose it.
Based upon this we say, based upon this firstly we say: it is upon every sect or Islamic group to correct the root of its starting point and [that is done by]: relying on the Book, and the Sunnah, and upon what the Pious Predecessors were upon. Hizb at-Tahrir do not adopt this condition/restriction as [part of their] thought nor do the Muslim Brotherhood and nor those like them from the many sects. And we only refer to the Islamic sects [when we say this], as for those that have openly declared war against Islaam like the Ba’athists or the Communists, then we are not talking about them now.
So the point [being established here] is this third principle: following the path of the Believers–Hizb at-Tahrir do not adopt it, nor do all the other sects.
When the affair is as such, then it befits every Muslim male or female to know that when a path is bent or crooked from the top then every time it moves forward it will increase in its deviation or digression and distance from the path that is straight and about which the Lord of all the worlds said in the Noble Quraan, “And verily, this is my Straight Path, so follow it, and follow not (other) paths, for they will separate you away from His Path.” [Al-An’aan 6:153].
This aayah is explicit and unequivocal in its meaning as Hizb at-Tahrir, from amongst all of the other Islamic Islamic groups, constantly love to say in their call, their books, their lectures, ‘This is unequivocal in its meaning.’ That is because the aayah says that the path which leads to Allaah is one and that the other paths are the ones which will distance the Muslims from the Path of Allaah, “And verily, this is my Straight Path, so follow it, and follow not (other) paths, for they will separate you away from His Path.”
And the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) further explained and clarified this aayah, as is his way (صلى الله عليه وسلم) always and forever, as Allaah the Mighty and Majestic, mentioned in the Noble Quraan when he addressed His Messenger saying, “And We sent down unto you the Reminder [i.e., the Quraan] that you may explain clearly to the people what was sent down to them,” [Nahl 16:44]. So the Sunnah of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) is the complete explanation of the Quraan.
The Quraan is the root/foundation, it is the constitution of Islaam, as for the Sunnah, then it is [that which] explains and consolidates it. And without comparing and only by way of clarifying [what I mean]: the Quraan in relation to the system of the earth is like a constitution, and the Sunnah is like the Law which explains the constitution.
For this reason it was agreed upon by all of the Muslims without exception that it is not possible to understand the Quraan except with the explanation of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم), this is something unanimous.
But the thing in which the Muslims differed, [the thing] in which their footsteps differed, is that all of the misguided groups of the past did not pay any heed to this third principle, which is, “… following the Pious Predecessors,” and by doing so they opposed the aayah which I just mentioned over and over again. Thereafter they opposed the Path of Allaah, because the Path of Allaah is one, and it is that which is mentioned in the previous aayah, “And verily, this is my Straight Path, so follow it, and follow not (other) paths, for they will separate you away from His Path.”
I say: indeed the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) made this aayah even clearer through that which one of his (صلى الله عليه وسلم) Companions reported from him who was well known for his understanding, Adbullaah ibn Mas’ood, may Allaah the Most High be pleased with him, where he said, “The Messenger of Allaah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) drew a straight line one day upon the earth, then he drew small lines around this straight oen, then he pointed his noble finger to the straight line and recited the aayah, “And verily, this is my Straight Path, so follow it, and follow not (other) paths, for they will separate you away from His Path.” He (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said, while passing his finger over the straight line, “This is the Path of Allaah.” Then he pointed to the short lines around it and said, “And these are [other] paths, at the head of each one is a devil calling the people to it.” So this hadith also explains another one [which I will mention now], and this other one along with the hadith of the straight line are regarded as those which explain the aayah about the Path of the Believers.
[And it is] that hadith which the companions of the Sunan reported, like Abu Dawud and Tirmidhi and their likes from the Imaams of Hadith by way of a number of people from a group of the Companions, may Allaah be pleased with all of them, like Abu Hurairah, Mu’aawiyah, Anas ibn Maalik and other than them, that the Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said, “The Jews split into seventy one sects. And the Christians split into seventy two sects. And my nation will split into seventy three sects. All of them are in the Fire except for one.” They said, “Who are they, O Messenger of Allaah?” He said, “It is that which I and my Companions are upon.”
This hadith clarifies the aforementioned Path of the Believers in the ayah for us. Who are the Believers [being referred to] in it? They are those which the Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) mentioned in the hadith of the sects when asked about the Saved Sect, its methodology, its characteristics, its starting point. So he (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said, “It is that which I and my Companions are upon,” “It is that which I and my Companions are upon,” so I would like you to pay attention, because the answer of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) if it isn’t revelation from Allaah, then it is an explanation from the Prophet of Allaah regarding ‘the Path of the Believers’ mentioned in the Saying of Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic, which I quoted to you many times just now.
Whereby Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic, mentioned the Messenger in the aayah and [also] mentioned the Path of the Believers. In the same way the Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) made the [distinguishing] sign of the Saved Sect which is not from the seventy-two misguided ones, he made its sign: that it will be upon what the Prophet and his Companions were upon.
So we find in this hadith the same thing we found in the aayah. Just as the aayah did not restrict itself to making mention of the Prophet alone, then in the same way the hadith did not restrict itself to mentioning the Prophet alone–rather the aayah mentioned the Path of the Believers and likewise the hadith mentioned the Companions of the Noble Prophet, so the hadith came together [perfectly] with the Quraan. This is why he (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said, “I have left two things among you. You will never go astray so long as you hold on to them: the Book of Allaah and my Sunnah. And they will never split until they return to me at the Lake.”
Many of the sects of the past and [also] modern day ones do not pay attention to the restriction mentioned in the aayah and in this hadith, the hadith about the seventy-three sects, where he (صلى الله عليه وسلم) made the characteristic of the Saved Sect, indeed the [distinguishing] sign of the Saved Sect, that it will be upon what the Messenger and his Companions were upon.
Similar to this hadith somewhat is the hadith of al-Irbaad ibn Saariyah, and he is from the Companions of the Prophet, from the People of the Saff, who were poor and would always stick to the mosque, always being present at the gatherings of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم), and he took knowledge from the Book of Allaah and the mouth of the Prophet fresh and new. Al-Irbaad said, “The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) gave us an admonition which caused the hearts to fear and the eyes to shed tears, so we said, “Advise us, O Messenger of Allaah.” So he said, “I advise you to fear Allaah, and to hear and obey, even if an Abyssinian slave is placed in authority over you. And whoever lives long from amongst you will see great controversy. So stick to my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the orthodox, rightly-guided caliphs after me, cling to that with your molar teeth, and beware of the newly-invented matters, for every newly-invented matter is an innovation and every innovation is misguidance …”
The proof [taken from] this hadith is that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) did not restrict [his answer] to encouraging the Muslims when they differ … he (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said, “Indeed whoever lives from you will see great conflict.”
For this reason the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) answered in a wise manner, and who is wiser or more just than him after the Most Just of all judges? No one from mankind is wiser than the Messenger of Allaah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) for this reason when he said, “Indeed whoever lives from you will see great conflict…” he answered the mandatory question [which follows such a statement] … [i.e.,] so what should we do, O Messenger of Allaah, he said, “So upon you is [to follow] my Sunnah …” but he (صلى الله عليه وسلم) did not suffice with ordering those who live in the time of differences like this era of ours, he did not suffice with his saying, “So upon you is [to follow] my Sunnah …” only, rather he increased upon that, saying, “And the Sunnah [way] of the Rightly Guided Caliphs.”
Thus, let the Muslim who is sincere to himself add this [condition] to his creed that it is obligatory to return to the Book, the Sunnah and to the Path of the Believers [this being based upon] the proof taken from the aayah, the hadith about the [seventy-three] sects and the hadith of al-Irbaad ibn Saariyah …”