ʿUmar b. ʿAbd Al-ʿAzīz

The Correct Place of Opinion

Al-Awzāʿī reports that Caliph ʿUmar b. ʿAbd Al-ʿAzīz – Allāh have mercy on him – wrote (in his orders):

There is no place for anyone’s opinion [when it comes to] what is in the Book (revelation). The opinion of the imāms (great scholars) is only regarding what the Book did not come down with, and regarding which no Sunnah has passed from the Messenger of Allāh ﷺ. And the opinion of no one is counted in the face of a Sunnah from the Messenger of Allāh ﷺ.

Al-Ājurrī, Al-Sharīʿah #113 et al.

Having the Gatherings of Knowledge in the Mosque

It is reported that ʿAlī [b. Abī Ṭālib] – Allāh be pleased with him – said:

The masājid are the sittings of the Prophets, and a protection from Shayṭān.

Al-Ḵaṭīb, Al-Jāmiʿ li-ʾAḵlāq Al-Rāwī #1200.

It is reported that Abū ʾIdrīs Al-Ḵawlānī – Allāh have mercy on him – said:

The masājid are the sittings of the noble.

Op. cit. #1201.

It is reported that ʿUmar b. ʿAbd Al-ʿAzīz – Allāh have mercy on him – wrote in his instructions:

Tell the people of knowledge to spread knowledge in the masājid; for the Sunnah had been deadened.

Op. cit. #1202.

Umar b. Abd Al-Aziz on the Way of the Believers

Ibn Shihâb reports:

‘Umar b. ‘Abd Al-‘Azîz – Allah have mercy on him, said, “The Messenger of Allâh – Allâh’s peace and blessings be upon him – and the authorities (leaders of the Muslims, the Caliphs ) after him set certain ways and practices. To follow those ways is to believe in Allâh’s Book and to complete [ones] obedience of Him, and to be strong upon the religion of Allâh. It is not for anyone to alter those ways or change them for something else, and it is not for anyone to consider the views and opinions of those who contradict them. Whoever follows what [the Prophet and his Caliphs] laid down will be guided, whoever seeks enlightenment through it will be enlightened. But whoever contradicts those ways and follows a way other than the way of the Believers, Allâh the Mighty and Majestic will leave him in the path he has chosen and land him in Jahannam (Hell); and what an evil destination that is.'”

Al-Lâlakâ`î, Sharh Usûl I’tiqâd Ahl Al-Sunnah 1:94.

Notes

In this statement, Caliph ‘Umar b. ‘Abd Al-Azîz affirms a number of important points related to the creed and methodology of Ahl Al-Sunnah wa Al-Jamâ’ah – orthodox Islam:

  1. The path of guidance, the Sunnah, is what was laid down by the Prophet, as understood and implemented by the Rightly Guided Caliphs and Companions.
  2. For a person to truly believe in the Quran, and to be guided, he must adhere to this Sunnah and to it alone.
  3. A Muslim is not allowed to innovate in the religion or exchange any part of it for foreign beliefs and ideologies.
  4. True enlightenment and insight lies in adhering to this way.
  5. A Muslim is not supposed to be interested in and expose himself to the views and opinions of people who go against the Sunnah and way of the Salaf.
  6. Going against this way is to follow ‘a way other than the way of the Believers’ and take a path to Hell; a reference to Al-Quran 4:115 where this principle is evidenced.

This narration is recorded with variant wordings in numerous other sources. In a version recorded on the authority of Muttarrif b. ‘Abdillâh by Al-Qâdî Abû Ya’lâ (d458H) in Ibtâl Al-Ta’wîl 1:52, it is stated that when those who ‘deflected the narrations speaking of the Sifât’ (divine attributes of Allâh) were mentioned in the presence of Imâm Mâlik, he would quote this saying of Caliph ‘Umar b. ‘Abd Al-‘Azîz. In yet another report of this statement, the heretics being referred to are described as ‘the deviants in the religion.’

The Last Sermon of Caliph Umar b. Abd Al-Aziz

It is reported that the last sermon ‘Umar b. ‘Abd Al-‘Aziz – Allâh have mercy on him – delivered was as follows:

He praised Allâh and said, “You were not created in vain, nor will you be left without purpose. Verily, you have an appointed time in which Allâh – the Most High – will come down to judge you. Wretched and ruined will he be who leaves the mercy of Allâh and is denied a Garden whose width is that of the heavens and Earth. Know you not that no one will be safe tomorrow save one who is wary of today and fears it; and sells the transitory for what will remain, and the little for the plenty, and fear in exchange for security [in the hereafter]? See you not that you are in the loins of the dead, to be taken by those who remain after you, until all matters return to the Best of Inheritors? Every day, [in the funerals] you accompany those returning to Allâh the Mighty and Sublime, having spent their time, until you hide them in a crevice in the ground, in the belly of a bare and unfurnished hole, having parted from their loved ones, stroking the dirt and facing their accounts. Now, they are dependent on their deeds, free of what they left behind, in need of [the deeds] they put before them. So fear Allâh before the time He appointed is up and death descends upon you. This is what I have to say.” He then lifted the edge of his garment over his face and wept profusely, and made everyone around him weep.

Abû Bakr Al-Daynûrî, Al-Mujâlasah wa Jawâhir Al-‘Ilm Vol. 3 p343.

A Comfortable Life

It is reported that ‘Umar b. ‘Abd Al-‘Azîz once wrote to Al-Hasan Al-Basrî to get a brief exhortation from him, so Al-Hasan wrote back , “The dunyâ distracts and preoccupies the heart and body, but al-zuhd (asceticism, not giving importance to worldly things) gives rest to the heart and body. Verily, Allâh will ask us about the halâl things we enjoyed, so what about the harâm!”

Al-Bayhaqî, Al-Zuhd Al-Kabîr, article 26.