Falsehood that leads to Falsehood [Al-Kalam, dialectical, speculative theology]

Abd Al-Raḥmān b. Mahdī reports:

I entered upon Mālik b. Anas when a man was asking him about the Qur`ān. [Imām Mālik] said, “Perhaps you are a companion of  Amr b. ‘Ubayd. May Allāh curse ‘Amr, for he was the one who innovated this bid’ah of Kalām  . If Kalām was knowledge, the Companions and their Followers would have spoken it, like they spoke about the regulations and laws [of Islam]. But [Kalām] is falsehood that leads to falsehood.”

Abul-Faḍl Al-Muqri`Al-Rāzī, Aḥādīth fī Dham Al-Kalām wa Ahlihī p96.
Al-Harawī, Dham Al-Kalām wa Ahlihī no.874.

Isn’t this that time?

It is reported that Al-Fuḍayl b. ‘Ayyād – Allāh have mercy on him – said:
How will you be if you reach a time when you will see people who do not distinguish truth from falsehood, believer from unbeliever, trustworthy from treacherous, nor ignorant from knowledgeable, and neither recognize what is right nor censure what is wrong?

Ibn Battah, Al-Ibānah Al-Kubrā 1:188.

After reporting this narration, Imām Ibn Battah (d. 387H) said:

To Allāh we belong and to Him we will return! We have reached that time, we have heard this and have come to know most of it and witnessed it. If a man to whom Allāh has bestowed sound reasoning looks and thinks carefully and ponders the matter of Islām and its people and treads the rightly guided path as regards to them, it will become clear to him that most people have turned back on their heals, deviated from the correct path, and turned away from  correct proof. Many people have started to like what they used to hate, allow what they used to forbid and recognize what they used to reject. And for sure – Allāh have mercy on you – this is not the [right] character of the Muslims, nor the behaviour of those who have insight into this religion, and neither of those who believe in it and are certain about it.

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

Ibn Shihāb reports:

‘Umar b. ‘Abd Al-‘Azīz – Allah have mercy on him, said, “The Messenger of Allāh – Allāh’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 Allāh’s Book and to complete [ones] obedience of Him, and to be strong upon the religion of Allāh. 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, Allāh 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-Lālakā`ī, Shar Uṣūl I’tiqād Ahl Al-Sunnah 1:94.


In this statement, Caliph ‘Umar b. ‘Abd Al-Azīz affirms a number of important points related to the creed and methodology of Ahl Al-Sunnah wa Al-Jamā’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. ‘Abdillāh by Al-Qāḍī Abū Ya’lā (d458H) in Ibṭāl Al-Ta’wīl 1:52, it is stated that when those who ‘deflected the narrations speaking of the Ṣifāt’ (divine attributes of Allāh) were mentioned in the presence of Imām Mālik, he would quote this saying of Caliph ‘Umar b. ‘Abd Al-‘Azīz. In yet another report of this statement, the heretics being referred to are described as ‘the deviants in the religion.’

Don’t be the Fifth

It is reported that Abū Al-Dardā` – Allāh be pleased with him – said:

Be a scholar or a learner, or a person who loves [the scholars] or a follower [of the scholars], but do not be the fifth.
Ḥumayd (one of the reporters) asked Al-Ḥasan (Al-Baṣri, who reported this from Abū Al-Dardā`), “And who is the fifth?” He replied, “A heretic (mubtadi’, religious innovator}.”

Ibn ʿAbd Al-Barr, Jāmi’ Bayān Al-‘Ilm 1:142.

Deviation is in Leaving the Sunnah

Abū Bakr Al-Ṣiddīq – Allāh be pleased with him – said:

I will not leave anything Allāh’s Messenger – Allāh’s peace and blessings be upon him – did, except that I will also do it; for I fear that if I were to leave any of his commands and ways I would deviate.

Al-Bukhārī, Al-Ṣaḥīḥ 2:386 ḥadīth no. 3093; Ibn Battah, Al-Ibānah article 77, and others.


After recording this narration, Ibn Battah states:

This, my brothers, is the greatest Ṣiddīq (true believer i.e. Abū Bakr), fearing that he would fall into deviation if he were to leave any of the commandments of his Prophet – Allāh’s peace and blessings be upon him. What then is to happen in a time in which people deride their Prophet and his commandments, and compete with each other and show off in contradicting him and mock his Sunnah? We ask Allāh to protect us from slipping and to save us from evil deeds.