Al-Awzāʿī

Faith is not just in the heart [definition of Iman]

Imām Al-Awzā’ī – Allāh have mercy on him – said:

Faith (īmān) is not sound except with [correct] words. Faith and words are not sound except with [good] works. And faith, words and deeds are not sound except with [the correct] intentions in conformance to the Sunnah. Those who went before us of our Salaf did not separate faith from deeds: deeds are a part of faith, and faith is from [ones deeds]. īmān is a word that brings together these aspects of the religions [of Allāh] and is confirmed through [a person’s] works.

So whoever believes in word, knows in his heart and confirms [his belief] through his works, then this is the strongest handhold that will never break. And whoever says [words of faith] but does not know [faith] in his heart nor confirms it with his works, it will never be accepted of him and he will be in the hereafter from those who suffer in loss.

Ibn Ba tt ah, Al-Ibānah Al-Kubrā article 1097.

Imam Al-Awzai’s Letter of Warning against Heresy and Heretics

It is reported that Imām Al-Awzāʿī (d157H) wrote:

O Muslims, fear Allāh and obey Him, and accept the advice of the sincere advisers and the exhortation of the exhorters, and know that this knowledge is religion, so be careful about what you do [in it] and from whom you take [it] and who you follow and who you trust your religion to. For verily, the followers of Bid’ah are all falsifiers and liars, neither are they careful nor do they fear and protect [against wrongdoing], and nor are they to be trusted to not distort what you hear. They say what they know not when criticizing and decrying or when affirming their lies. But Allāh encompasses what they do. So be on guard against them, suspect them, reject them and distance yourselves from them, for this was what your earlier scholars and the righteous latter ones did and instructed others to do.

Beware of rising against Allāh and becoming instruments in the destruction of His religion and undoing its handholds by respecting the innovators, for you know what has come down to us about respecting them. And what stronger respect and veneration can there be than taking your religion from them, following them, believing them, being close to them and helping them in alluring those they allure and attracting those they attract of the weak Muslims towards their ideas and the religion they practice? This is enough to be considered a partnership and contribution to what they do.

Ibn ‘Asākir, Tārīkh Dimishq 6:361, 362.

Rejected Sunnah vs Beautified Opinion

It is reported that Al-Awzāʿī said:

Follow the narrations [ways] of those who have preceded (the Salaf) even if people reject you; and beware of people’s opinions, even if they beautify them for you.

Al-Ājurrī, Kitāb Al-Sharīʿah 1:138; Ibn ʿAbd Al-Barr, Jāmiʿ Bayān Al-ʿIlm wa Faḍlihi 3:373.

Woe to those who Study

It is reported from Al-Awzâ’î – Allâh have mercy on him – that he said:

I have been told that it used to be said, “Woe to those who study [their religion] for a purpose other than worship, and those who seek to permit what is forbidden through doubts and specious arguments.”

Al-Khattîb Al-Baghdâdî, Iqtdâ Al-‘Ilm Al-‘Amal, p77.

Al-Awzāʿī: Allāh is above His ‘Arsh

Imâm Al-Awzâ’î – Allâh have mercy on him – said:

We used to say – while the Tâbi’ûn were abundant – that Allâh is above his ‘Arsh (Throne), and we believe in what is present in the Sunnah about His attributes.

Al-Baihaqî, Al-Asmâ` wa Al-Sifât and Al-Dhahabî, Siyar A’lâm Al-Nubalâ` in his biography of Al-Awzâ’î.

In Majmû’ Al-Fatâwâ, Shaykh Al-Islâm Ibn Taymîyah says that this narration is reported by Al-Baihaqî in Al-Asmâ` wa Al-Sifât with a sahîh chain of narrations. He then states, “Al-Awzâ’î here cited – and he is one of the four great imâms of the period of the Tâbi’ Al-Tâbi’în (the students of the students of the Companions): Mâlik, imâm of the people of Al-Hijâz; Al-Awzâ’î, imâm of the people of Shâm; Al-Layth, imâm of the people of Egypt and Al-Thawrî, imâm of the people of ‘Irâq – Al-Awzâ’î here cited that belief in Allâh being above the Throne and in His other revealed attributes was well known and widespread in the period of the Tâbi’în. He said this following the emergence of the creed of Jahm, who denied that Allâh is above His Throne and negated His attributes, so that people would know that the creed of the Salaf was contrary to this.”