The Real People

It is reported that ‘Abdullāh b. Aḥmad b. Ḥanbal – Allāh have mercy on him – said:
I asked my father, “Who are the [real] people?” He replied, “The [real] people are none but those who say ḥaddathanā and akhbaranā (those who report ḥadīth).”

Abū Bakr Al-Daynūrī, Al-Mujālasah wa Jawāhir Al-‘Ilm article 3438.

Opinionated Enemies of the Sunnah

‘Umar b. Al-Khattāb – Allāh be pleased with him – said:

Verily, the followers of opinion are the enemies of the Sunan (the teachings of Allāh’s Messenger as passed down in hadith): they were unable to preserve them and their meanings escaped them, and when asked [questions] they were too embarrassed to say ‘We don’t know,’ so they opposed the Sunan with their opinions.

Ibn Abī Zamanīn, Uūl Al-Sunnah article 8; Al-Lālakā`ī, Shar Uūl I’tiqād Ahl Al-Sunnah article 201 et al.

Who can give a Fatwa?

It is reported that Imām Mālik – Allāh have mercy on him – was asked, “Who is allowed to give religious rulings (fatwā)? He replied:

Issuing fatwā is not allowed except for a person who knows what the people have differed in. It was said, ‘Do you mean the different views of the people of opinions (those who depend more on analogy and speculation)? He replied, “No, [I mean] the different views of the Companions of Muḥammad – Allāh’s praise and peace be upon him. And he must also know the textual evidence that abrogates [other rulings] and that which is abrogated [by other texts], both in the Quran and the ḥadīth of Allah’s Messenger – Allāh’s praise and peace be upon him. Such a person can issue fatāwā.

Ibn ‘Abd Al-Barr, Jāmi’ Bayān Al-‘Ilm wa Faḍlihī article 1529.

It is reported that ‘Abdullāh b. Al-Mubārak – Allāh have mercy on him – was asked, “When can a person issue an edict (fatwā)?” He replied, “When he is knowledgeable about the narrations (hadith and traditions of the Salaf), and has insight into [juristic] opinion.

Ibid. article 1532.

Be with the Carriers of Books

It is reported that Imām ‘Abd Al-Raḥmān b. Mahdī – Allāh have mercy on him – said, following a mention of the Ṣȗfīah (Sufis):

Do not sit with them, nor with the followers of Kalām.(1) Be with the carriers of books,(2) for they are like mines, like those who descend: one brings up a gem and another a nugget of gold.

Ibn Battah, Al-Ibānah Al-Kubrā article 483.

(1) Speculative theology, drawn from foreign philosophy and logic, as practiced by sects such as the Jahmia and Mutazila.

(2) Arabic al-qamātir: covers or folders used to keep written material. ‘Carriers of books’ refers to the scholars and students who occupied themselves with Islamic knowledge and hadīth.

The Integrity of a Man and his Prayer

It is reported that Abū Al-‘Āliyah – Allāh have mercy on him – said:

I would travel for days to a man to hear [knowledge/ḥadīth ] from him, and the first thing I would check about him is his prayer: if he performed it properly I would stay and hear [knowledge] from him, but if he neglected it, I would return without hearing from him, and I would say, ‘He will be even more neglectful of other matters.’

Al-Khaṭīb Al-Baghdādī, Al-Riḥlah fī Ṭalab Al-Ḥadīth article 22; Al-Dhahabī, Siyar A’lām Al-Nubalā` 4:209.