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Kitaab At-Tawheed, Chapter: 36

Whoever Obeys a Scholar or a Ruler by Prohibiting What Allah Has Permitted or Permitting What Allah Has Prohibited Has Taken Them as Partners Beside Allah

Ibn `Abbas (ra ) said: "Stones are about to rain down upon you from the sky: I say to you: "Allah's Messenger (saas ) said..." and you reply: "But Abu Bakr and `Umar said...?" 1

Because obedience is a form of worship, it is not allowed to obey anyone - be he man or jinn - unless it conforms with obedience to Allah (swt ) and His Messenger (saas ). This is why Ibn `Abbas (ra ) repudiated those who, when they were informed that the Prophet (saas ) had pronounced upon a matter, objected that Abu Bakr As-Siddeeq and `Umar Ibn Al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with them both) 2 had said something different, thus, in effect, preferring the opinions of these two pious Companions over the Revelation of Allah (swt ). This incident allegedly occurred during a discussion about Hajj in which Ibn `Abbas (ra ) mentioned something which he had heard from Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah (saas ). Ibn `Abbas (ra ) warned them of Allah's approaching punishment and His Anger for those who preferred the opinions of Abu Bakr and `Umar (may Allah be pleased with them) to the guidance of Allah's Messenger (saas ). - In view of this, what may be said of those who prefer the opinions of lesser men over the Book of Allah (swt ) and the Sunnah of His Prophet (saas ). 3

Benefits Derived From This Narration

1. Evidence of the virtue of Ibn `Abbas and his excellent understanding of religious matters.

2. That no opinion which contradicts the Qur'an and Sunnah is to be given heed, no matter from whom it emanated.

3. The obligation to be angry for Allah and His Messenger's sake.

Relevance of This Narration to the Subject of the Chapter and to the Subject of Tawheed

That the narration proves that Ibn `Abbas (ra ) held that it is forbidden to prefer the opinion of any of Allah's creatures over the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (saas ) and this is because to do so is an act of Shirk since it constitutes obedience to other than Allah (swt ).


Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal said: "I am amazed at those people who know that a sanad is authentic and yet, in spite of this, they follow the opinion of Sufyan, for Allah (ra ), says:

" Let those who oppose his [the Messenger's] commandment beware, lest some fitnah befall them or a painful torment be inflicted on them" (Qur'an 24:63)

Do you know what that fitnah is? That fitnah is Shirk. Maybe the rejection of some of his words would cause one to doubt and deviate in his heart and thereby be destroyed."

In this narration, Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal rejects those who abandon the Sunnah of the Prophet (saas ), after it has been made clear to them its authenticity and the meaning has been explained to them, in favour of the opinion of Sufyaan Ath-Thawri4 and other scholars, in spite of their fallibility. And he warns them against deviating, by rejecting Allah's Book or the Sunnah of His Prophet (saas ); this is because the blind followers of the mazahib5 frequently change the meanings of Qur'anic verses and Ahadith or quote them out of context, or claim that they have been abrogated in order to make them conform with their particular mazhab. Then the Imam supports his contention by mentioning the Words of Allah (swt ), Most High; let the Qur'an be sufficient proof for us all.

Benefits Derived From This Narration

1. That in the opinion of Imam Ahmad it is forbidden to abandon the Sunnah of Allah's Messenger in favour of the saying of any person, no matter how knowledgeable and pious he may be.

2. That every commandment of the Prophet is considered obligatory, unless there is some proof to indicate its preferability.

3. That rejecting the Law of Allah leads to destruction in this world and in the Hereafter.

Relevance of This Narration to the Subject of the Chapter and to the Subject of Tawheed

That it proves that Imam Ahmad considered that deviating from the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (saas ) in favour of the sayings of others is Shirk, because it involves obedience to other than Allah (swt ) and His Messenger (saas ); and he quotes from the Qur'an to prove his contention.


On the authority of `Adi Ibn Hatim (ra ), it is reported that he heard the Messenger of Allah (saas ) reciting this Qur'anic verse:

" They have taken their rabbis and their monks as lords beside Allah and [they take as a lord] Al-Maseeh, `Eesaa, the son of Maryam, yet they were not commanded but to worship One God: None has the right to be worshipped but He - Praise and Glory to Him: [Far is He] from having the partners they associate [withHim]" (Qur'an 9:31)

"...and I said to him (swt ): "We don't worship them." He (saas ) said: "Do they not forbid what Allah (swt ) has permitted and do you not then forbid it (to yourselves), and do they not make permissible for you what Allah (swt ) has forbidden, and do you not then make it permissible (to yourselves)?" I replied: "Certainly!" He (saas ) said: "That is worshipping them." (Narrated by At-Tirmizi, who graded it as Hasan)

`Adi Ibn Hatim (swt ) informs us in this Hadith, that when he heard the Prophet (saas ) reciting Allah's Words:

" They have taken their rabbis and their monks as lords beside Allah. And [they take as their lord] Al-Maseeh, `Eesaa, the son of Maryam" (Qur'an 9:31)

He contradicted the Prophet (saas ), saying that they do not worship them; for to his mind, what was meant by worship was bowing, prostration, supplication, sacrifice etc. But the Prophet (saas ) informed him that their obedience to the rabbbis and monks in forbidding the permissible and permitting the forbidden was a form of worship, because they have thus made their rabbis and monks partners to Allah (swt ) in obedience and in ordaining the Law.

Benefits Derived From This Hadith

1. Evidence that the rabbis and monks are astray.

2. Confirmation of the Jews' and Christians' Shirk.

3. That the original Message of all the Messengers and Prophets was tawheed.

4. That obedience to any of Allah's creatures, if it entails disobedience to Allah (swt ), constitutes an act of worship.

5. The obligation to inquire from the people of knowledge about matters which one does not understand.

6. The rejection of blind obedience to Allah's creatures, for all except the Prophets are fallible.

Relevance of This Hadith to the Subject of the Chapter and to the Subject of Tawheed

That it proves that whoever obeyed a religious scholar by making the permissible forbidden, or vice versa has committed an act of Shirk.


1. While according to a number of scholars of Hadith, this is a weak narration, its meaning is correct.
2. Abu Bakr As-Siddeeq and 'Umar Ibn Al-Khattab: Two close friends of the Prophet (saas) and the first and second Khaleefah (Caliph) respectively, after his death. They were among the most knowledgeable and pious of the Companions.
3. Such as those who, when confronted with a Prophetic Hadith say: "Yes, but our Shaikh says..." or: "Yes, but in our mazhab (i.e. school of Islamic jurisprudence)..."
4. Sufyaan Ibn Sa'eed Ibn Masrooq Ath-Thawri: A great scholar of Hadith and fiqh, who lived in the first century after the hijrah. He died in the year 61 A.H., aged 64 years.
5. Mazahib: Plural of mazhab.

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