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The Straight Path

Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) 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.” [1]

The Straight Path is the path which Allāh 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 Ismāīl was narrated from Sulaimān b. Harb: Hammad b. Zayd narrated to us; from ʿĀsim b. Bahdalah; from Abū Wa’il; from ʿAbdullāh [b. ʿAbbās] who said, ‘One Day the Messenger (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) 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 Allāh.” 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…” [2]

meaning these paths

“…or you will become cut off from His Way.” [3]’

Bakr b. ʿAla said,

‘He meant the devils amongst men and these [other paths] are the innovations and Allāh knows best.’ [4]

The ḥadīth has been reported through numerous routes.

ʿUmar b. Salamah al-Hamdani said,

“We were sitting in the circle of Ibn Masʿud in the Mosque, which had been plain land after it had been covered with gravel. ʿUbaydullāh b. ʿUmar b. al-Khattab, who had just returned from an expedition asked him, ‘ʿAbū ʿAbdur-Raḥmān, what is the Straight Path?’ He replied, ‘By the Lord of the Kaʿbah, 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 (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi 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.’” [5]

In another narration [the wording is],

‘ʿAbū ʿAbdur-Raḥmān, what is the Straight Path?’ He replied, “The Messenger (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi 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 Masʿud 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.” [6]

Concerning Allāh’s words,

“Do not follow other ways…” [7]

Mujāhid said,

‘It refers to innovations and doubts.’ [8]

ʿAbdur-Raḥmān b. Mahdi said, ‘Malik b. 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.” [9]

Bakr b. ʿAla said, ‘He means – if Allāh wills – the ḥadith of Ibn Masʿud that the Messenger (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) drew a line…’ [10]

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 Allāh, Most High,

“The Way should lead to Allāh, but there are those who deviate from it. If He had wished He could have guided every one of you.” [11]

The Way leading to Allāh is the Path of Truth and anything besides it turns away from the truth, these are the paths of innovations and misguidance – may Allāh 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 ‘ʿAsim b. Bahdalah was asked, “Abu Bakr, have you considered the saying of Allāh, Most High,

“The Way should lead to Allāh, but there are those who deviate from it. If He had wished He could have guided every one of you.” [12]?”

He replied,

“Abū Wa´il informed us; from ʿAbdullah b. Masʿūd saying, ‘ʿAbdullāh b. Masʿūd drew a straight line and drew lines to its right and to its left and said, “The Messenger (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) drew just like this. He said about the straight line, ‘This is the path of Allāh’ 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.’ Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) said,

“This is My Path and it is straight, so follow it. Do not follow other ways…” [13]”’

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

Mujāhid said, ‘The Way should lead to Allāh: 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 ʿAlī (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanhu) 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.

Source; www.islam21c.com

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Notes:

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

[1] Al-Qur’an, 6:153

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Aḥmad

[5] Ibn Waddah

[6] Al-Qur’an, 6:153

[7] Ibid.

[8] Darimi

[9] Al-Qur’an, 6:153

[10] Ibn `Abdu’l-Barr, al-Intiqa’

[11] Al-Qur’ān, 16:9

[12] Ibid.

[13] Al-Qur’an, 6:153

About Shaikh Abu Rumaysah Refi Shafi

Ustadh Abu Rumaysah Refi Shaafi was born and brought up in High Wycombe. He studies with Shaykh Haitham Al-Haddad and Shaykh Abu AbdiRahman Al-Libee. He graduated from Imperial College from the faculty of Computer Sciences. He is currently a Java Programmer Manager. He is the chairman for the WISE (Wycombe Islamic Society). He is very active in his local community especially with his Masjid and working with youth via Islamic Scouts He has translated a number of books such as The criterion between the friends of Allah and the friends of shaytan, The relief from distress (the dua of Yunus Alayhisalam, both by Ibn Taymiyyah and many others. He has also written an explanation of Surah Al-Faatiha called ‘The spiritual cure.’ He currently gives weekly circles in High Wycombe and Watford. He is also a Lecturer for MRDF.

One comment

  1. 😀
    😀 Jazakoum Allaah khair!

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