|Bismillaah Al-Hamdulillaah wa salatu wa salaamu 'ala rasulullaah |
Al-'Uthaimeen: The Way of the Salaf is more safe, more knowledgeable and more wise: Scholarly Refutations of False Statement: "The Khalaf are Wiser"
|Question: Once in an Islamic lesson, a professor stated that the Khalaf (later scholars) are wiser, while the Salaf (righteous predecessors: Prophet and his companions) are more knowledgeable. Is this correct? What is meant by "more knowledgeable" and "wiser"?|
Answer by Shaikh Ibn Baaz (rahimahullaah) and the rest of Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta'*:
|This is a false statement meant to disparage the Salaf of this nation, accuse them of lack of knowledge and wisdom, and glorify the scholars of Kalam (a discipline that searches for answers to creedal issues using logic) for their knowledge and wisdom. Theologians were the first to make this statement. Inferentially [by way of that assumption], it follows that the successive generations are better and more knowledgeable than the preceding most righteous generations. |
Shaikhul-Islam Ibn Taymeeyah said:
|It is known to those who reflect upon the Qur`an, the Sunnah (whatever is reported from the Prophet), and points that Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jama'ah (adherents to the Sunnah and the Muslim mainstream) agreed upon that the best generation of this nation in terms of deeds, sayings, beliefs, and all virtues is the first generation, i.e. the Sahabah (Companions of the Prophet), then the one after, then the one after them. |
This was reported in a number of authentic ahaadeeth from the Prophet (salallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) in this regard. The Sahabah are better than later generations in every aspect: knowledge, actions, faith (Eeman), character, deeds, and worship. Thus, they are most worthy of explaining every detailed point of the religion. None may argue this evident fundamental except those who deny the well-established and known Islamic facts.
And Allaah, knowing that they know the truth, left them astray.
'Abdullaah ibn Mas'ood (radiallaahu 'anhu) said:
|Anyone who wishes to adopt a certain example should follow those who have passed away, for the living are not safe from Fitnah (temptation). They are the Sahabah of Muhammad who have the purest hearts, the best knowledgeable, and are the least pretentious of all Muslims. They are the people that Allaah chose to accompany his Prophet (salallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) and to establish Islaam. So affirm their status and hold firmly to their guidance, for indeed they were on the right path.|
Someone once said:
|Hold fast to the traditions of the Salaf, for they brought forth what is sufficient and curative, and no good ever arose after them which they were not knowledgeable of.|
The Prophet (salallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said:
|No time will come but the following time is worse than it, until you meet your Lord.|
How can there be a better time than theirs while they witnessed the revelation of the best knowledge, i.e. the Knowledge of Allaah! This will never happen.
How precise are the words of Al-Shafi'ee (rahimahullaah) who wrote in his book Al-Risalah (Al-Fatawa; vol. 4, pp. 157-158):
|They, i.e. the Sahabah, are superior to us in knowledge, reason, belief, virtue and every means through which knowledge or guidance is attained. Indeed, their opinion is more beneficial to us than ours to ourselves.|
While teaching Shaikh al-'Uthaimeen's Sharh of 'Aqeedatul-Wasitiyyah, student of knowledge Abu Uwais (rahimahullaah) relayed concerning the false statement "The way of the Salaf is safer, but the way of the Khalaf is more knowledgeable and wiser," the following from Shaikh al-'Uthaimeen (rahimahullaah):
|This is actually the biggest lie in its actual wording and in what it is striving to (say). Ibn Taymiyyah said: This is what some stupid people among them said. |
And this is true (agreeing with Ibn Taymiyyah in his statement that those who said this are Ghabi, i.e. stupid). It is actually the biggest lie in its actual wording and in what it is striving to (say).
1- How can it be more knowledgeable and how can it be more wise, but that one is more safe? You will not find safety unless you find knowledge and wisdom. The one who doesn't have any 'ilm about the path, he won't be safe, because he has no 'ilm. And if he had knowledge and wisdom, he would have been safe. There is no safety except with 'ilm and hikma.
2- If you say the way of the Salaf is (aslam) more safe, it is a must then that you say it has more 'ilm and more wisdom. And if not, you would then be someone who contradicts himself. So the proper expression is Tariqatus-Salaf aslam wa a'lam wa aHkam: "The Way of the Salaf is more safe, more knowledgeable and more wise." And this is known.
The people on the way of the Khalaf - all of them - usually on their deathbed regretted going into the way of the Khalaf, regretful going into philosophy and rhetoric and bid'ah. They regretted going into all of this. Many of them made statements upon their deathbed that showed this.
[Here is a] particular piece of poetry by 'Abdul-Kareem Ash-Rastani in his book called Nihayat al-Iqdam fi 'Ilm al-Kalaam (the End of the feet in this matter of rhetoric). In other words, the last result. He didn't mention who it was (from), but Ibnul Qayyim (rahimahullaah) mentioned Soo`aail:
|La Amri (During my life,) I have gone over all these institutes all over the world, and I did not find except someone placing his hand upon his chin in confusion, or someone biting at his fingertips out of sorrow and regret. (Abu Uwais explained: in other words [he meant:] during the long time of my life that I was looking into these innovations - the Asha'ira, Mu'tazila, etc... - this is all I found.)|
Because he didn't have any knowledge, because he didn't take the path that was safe; he didn't take the path that was clear; he didn't take the path that was right!
And ar-Razi, who was from their leaders, said in a piece of poetry in a book Aksam Li Dhat, which Ibnul Qayyim also brought in Sawaa`ik:
|The end result of these people's mind is that they were lost. And most of their striving is misguidance (a going astray), and we find our souls in delusion regarding our bodies, and all we find in this dunya was harm and loss, and we did not benefit from the detailed research all of our lives except that we gathered, "he said and she said."|
Here is another one:
|And I looked at the matter of Ahlul Bid'ah with their "scholars" and philosophy and those who took the books of the Greeks and translated them into Arabic and took the books of the Hindu philosophy and translated them into Arabic to understand - what? To understand the Names and Attributes of Allaah, Subhanahu wa Ta'aala, and the issues relating to Allaah. |
I looked at all of them and the way and the manhaj of the philosophers. I didn't see that it cures the illness, nor does it satisfy someone in need. And I found the most right way, the way of the Qur`an in these matters. You want to affirm something for Allaah, Subhanahu wa Ta'aala, (then) read when you are confirming:
The Most Beneficent (Allaah) Istawaa` (rose over) the (Mighty) Throne (in a manner that suits His Majesty). (Ta-Ha, ayah 5)
Read when you are confirming: To Him ascend (all) the goodly words (Fatir, ayah 10)
Read when you are denying: There is nothing like unto Him (Ash-Shura, ayah 11)
Read when you are denying: And they will never compass anything of His Knowledge. (Ta-Ha, ayah 110)
And he who experiences what I experienced will know what I know.
After what these leaders of bid'ah have said on their deathbed, can someone claim the way of the khalaf is "more wise?" One of them - Abu Ma`aalee - said:
|Verily, I hope that I die upon the 'aqeedah of the old men and old women of Laysaboor, the fitrah, the correct 'aqeedah, from the common people, from the Ummiyaat (illeterate).|
Can you say about that path (of the khalaf, and people of bid'ah) that it is A'lam wa aHkam (more knowledgeable, more wise)? Where is the knowledge that they had?
* Source: AlIfta, via SalafisofFlorida
Subhanak Allaahuma wa bihamdika ash-hadu anlaa illaaha illa anta astaghfiruka wa atubu ilayk
If I said anything correct, then it is from Allaah (subhanahu wa taa'ala), and if I erred, then that is from me and shaytan.