The entire Muslim community is generally facing a crisis of appalling proportions. The general decline in Islamic knowledge and awareness is unprecedented in Islamic history. Religious strife and torment is being experienced in every corner of the globe. How far and distant the days of the glorious Caliphate of the Companions seems when the law of God the Almighty reigned supreme, and peace, tranquility and sublimity prevailed. When one ponders over the situation, a genuine perception is gained of the great sacrifice and effort required to restore some measure of what has been lost. An even greater realization is gained of the fact that the severity of the situation is such that only the mercy of God the Almighty and His acceptance of our invocations could resolve this sad status quo of affairs.
However, it must be understood that Islam is a pure and unadulterated religion in which no form of innovation [bid‘a] will be tolerated. Only the application of the Holy Qur’an and its supreme and perfect illustration by our beloved Messenger -God bless him and grant him peace- is acceptable in the sight of God [Exalted be He]. Any deviation from this is sure to gain but loss and disappointment by perpetrators. It was a keen realization of the fundamental importance of this authenticity and purity of the Prophetic model to be protected from adulteration by the Companions and the chosen scholars of the first few centuries of Islam who expended untiring efforts towards its preservation. As the time passed from the demise of the Prophet -God bless him and grant him peace-, so too did the efforts of the enemies of Islam increase in the quest to vanquish the Din of God the Almighty. One area of effort was the direct attack on Muslims and the truth of Islam.
A second and perhaps more devious effort was the attack from within. A no-holds-barred attempt to adulterate and obliterate the true teachings of the Prophet -God bless him and grant him peace- so that the name of Islam remained, but the practices carried out under its banner would be foreign and contrary to that which was revealed to the Prophet. To this end, thousands of hadiths were fabricated. However, while such devious plots bore fruit against other religions e.g. Christianity (the fabrication of the Trinity, etc.); Islam was protected and the Muslims rose to this challenge with great zest and zeal.
With regard to the field of hadith, one cannot possibly go into the various steps and measures that were taken over the ages in order to protect the authenticity of hadiths and separate the pure from the fabricated. To mention just a few: hadiths were written down from the time of the Companions and transmitted likewise; God the Almighty endowed certain chosen people with exemplary memories, enabling them to memorize thousands of narrations with their chain of narrators; an in-depth study into the life and character of every narrator was made – thus enabling the scholars to establish whether the narrator could be trusted. Such studies were recorded and categorized; great distances were travelled at great expense by the scholars in order to establish the veracity of even the slightest detail. Based on the results of these exhaustive efforts, hadiths were categorized into various levels of acceptability in the light of the general worth of the chain of narrators. It will now be the duty of the general Umma to accept the rulings of these great scholars in the field of hadith and to abide by their opinion with regard to the acceptability of the subject matter of the various hadiths. Only in this manner can we hope to have a clear conscience with regard to our ritual practices that they truly stem from the established Sunna and are not borne from custom and imitation of other ideologies.
A great tragedy is that in recent times, when Islamic knowledge is ebbing and when very often emotionalism becomes weightier than spirituality, many unaware believers, men and women alike, have become victims of the enemies of Islam who are hell-bent on spoiling the rue teachings of the Prophet -God bless him and grant him peace. The situation has deteriorated to such an extent that even certain scholars of Islam have fallen prey to their cunning plans. These adulterated practices have even begun to be expounded from the pulpits of our mosques.
Imam Abdessalam Yassine –God have mercy upon him- has, by means of his theory of the Prophetic Method, made an effort towards establishing the truth and presenting the true teachings of the Prophet -God bless him and grant him peace- before us. It will now be our duty to appreciate the Imam’s efforts by implementing the true Sunna practices and abandoning any innovations that may have crept into our lives, no matter how popular they are or how pure and religious we consider them to be. It is hoped by means of this article that such a view would be adopted.
Let us reiterate the genuine need for us to exert ourselves in worship and supplication, to keep our religious exertions in conformance to the Sunna and to veer clear from that which is not established in the light of authentic Prophetic model. Only then will our efforts bear fruit.