التصفية والتربية وفق منهج السلف الصالح

The Straight Path

The Straight Path

An excerpt from Imam al-Shatibi, al-I`tisam, vol. 1, pp. 76-81
Translated by Abu Rumaysah Refi Shafi

Allah, Most High, says,

“This is My Path and it is straight, so follow it. Do not follow other ways or you will become cut off from His Way. That is what He instructs you to do, so that hopefully you will have taqwa.” [al-An`am (6): 153]


The Straight Path is the path which Allah has summoned us to, and that is the Sunnah. The other paths are the paths of the dissenters who deviate from the Straight Path, and they are the People of Innovation. What is not meant by other ways is the paths of disobedience because no one makes disobedience a path that he continuously walks in imitation of the Legal Law, rather this description specifically holds true for the newly invented innovations.

Evidence for this lies in what Isma`il has narrated from Sulaiman ibn Harb lies: Hammad ibn Zayd narrated to us; from `Asim ibn Bahdalah; from Abu Wa’il; from `Abdullah [ibn `Abbas] who said, ‘One Day the Messenger (SAW) drew a long, straight line for us,’ and then Sulayman drew a long, straight line for us. ‘Then he drew lines to its right and to its left and said, “This is the Path of Allah.” Then he drew lines to its right and to its left and said, “These are different paths, upon each of these ways is a devil calling to it,” and then he recited the verse, “This is My Path and it is straight, so follow it. Do not follow other ways…” [al-An`am (6): 153]


meaning these paths “…or you will become cut off from His Way.” [al-An`am (6): 153]’


Bakr ibn `Ala said, ‘He meant the devils amongst men and these [other paths] are the innovations and Allah knows best.’ [Ahmad] The hadith has been reported through numerous routes.

`Umar ibn Salamah al-Hamdani said, “We were sitting in the circle of Ibn Mas`ud in the Mosque, which had been plain land after it had been covered with gravel. `Ubaydullah ibn `Umar ibn al-Khattab, who had just returned from an expedition asked him, ‘Abu `Abdu’l-Rahman, what is the Straight Path?’ He replied, ‘By the Lord of the Ka`bah, it is that which your father was steadfast on until he entered Paradise,’ and he swore firmly three times on that. Then he drew a line in the ground with his hand and also drew lines to either side of it and said, ‘Your Prophet (Sallallaahualaihi wa sallam) left you upon this end and its other end is in Paradise. Whoever remains steadily upon it will enter Paradise and whoever takes any of these lines will be destroyed.’” [Ibn Waddah]

In another narration [the wording is], ‘Abu `Abdu’l-Rahman, what is the Straight Path?’ He replied, “The Messenger  (Sallallaahualaihi wa sallam) left us upon the nearest end of the line and its other end is in Paradise. To its left and right are roads on which there are men who invite those who pass by them, saying, ‘Come this way! Come this way!’ Whoever is lured by them to those paths will end up in Hellfire and whoever remains steadfast upon the great path will end up in Paradise.” Then ibn Mas`ud recited,  This is My Path and it is straight, so follow it. Do not follow other ways or you will become cut off from His Way. That is what He instructs you to do, so that hopefully you will have taqwa.” [al-An`am (6): 153]


Concerning Allah’s words, “Do not follow other ways…” [al-An`am (6): 153]


Mujahid said, ‘It refers to innovations and doubts.’ [Darimi]

`Abdu’l-Rahman ibn Mahdi said, ‘Malik ibn Anas was asked about the Sunnah to which he replied, “It is whatever has no other name for it except the Sunnah” and he recited, “This is My Path and it is straight, so follow it. Do not follow other ways or you will become cut off from His Way. That is what He instructs you to do, so that hopefully you will have taqwa.” [al-An`am (6): 153]

 

Bakr ibn `Ala said, ‘He means – if Allah wills – the hadith of ibn Mas`ud that the Messenger (Sallallaahualaihi wa sallam) drew a line…’ [Ibn `Abdu’l-Barr, al-Intiqa’]

This explanation shows that the verse covers all the different paths of innovation and does not specify one innovation over another. Amongst the verses [that censure innovation] is the saying of Allah, Most High,

“The Way should lead to Allah, but there are those who deviate from it. If He had wished He could have guided every one of you.” [al-Nahl (16): 9]


The Way leading to Allah is the Path of Truth and anything besides it turns away from the truth, these are the paths of innovations and misguidance – may Allah save us from them by His grace. It is enough that something turns away [from the Truth] that it be warned against, and the verse warns and prohibits [taking other paths].

Ibn Waddah mentioned that ‘`Asim ibn Bahdalah was asked, “Abu Bakr, have you considered the saying of Allah, Most High,

“The Way should lead to Allah, but there are those who deviate from it. If He had wished He could have guided every one of you.” [al-Nahl (16): 9]?” 


He replied, “Abu Wa´il informed us; from `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud saying, ‘`Abdullah ibn Mas`ud drew a straight line and drew lines to its right and to its left and said, “The Messenger (Sallallaahualaihi wa sallam)  ) drew just like this. He said about the straight line, ‘This is the path of Allah’ and about the lines to its right and left he said, ‘These are different ways, upon each of these ways is a devil calling to it.’ Allah, Most High, said,

“This is My Path and it is straight, so follow it. Do not follow other ways…” [al-An`am (6): 153]”’

Tustari said, ‘The Way should lead to Allah: the path of the Sunnah; those who deviate from it: to the Hellfire, i.e. the sects and innovations.’

Mujahid said, ‘The Way should lead to Allah: one that is finely balanced between exaggeration and negligence,’ and this shows that the one who deviates is someone who commits excesses or is negligent; both are descriptions of innovations.

 

It is reported that `Ali (RA) would recite the verse, “wa minkum ja’ir…” (and amongst you are those who deviate). They said, ‘i.e. from this nation.’ Therefore, it seems that this verse has the same meaning as the previous.

 

 

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.

Translate »