Fundamental Principles of the Sunnah

Author: Imaam Aboo Bakr al-Humaydee (d.218H)
Source: Usool As-Sunnah as found in Mujallatul-Hikmah (no. 1)
Checking: 'Abdullaah Ibn Yoosuf al-Juday'
Translator: 'Uthman Sheikh and Maaz Qureshi [1]


He is the Haafidh, the Imaam, the Faqeeh, Aboo Bakr 'Abdullaah Ibn Zubayr Ibn 'Eesaa al-Qurashee al-Asdee al-Humaydee.

He learned from many scholars, from them: Wakee' Ibnul-Jarraah, al-Waleed Ibn Muslim, Ya'laa Ibn 'Ubayd, and Marwaan al-Fazaaree. He also learned much from Sufyaan Ibn 'Uyaynah, to the point where ash-Shaafi'ee said: "He memorized ten thousand hadeeths from Sufyaan Ibn 'Uyaynah."

Aboo Haatim ar-Raazee said: "The people are in agreement about Sufyaan Ibn 'Uyaynah, and he is from the companions of Sufyaan Ibn 'Uyaynah, and he is reliable (thiqah) and a scholar."

Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, Ishaaq Ibn Raahawayh, and al-Bukhaaree testified to his scholarship, and he was from the most distinguished companions of ash-Shaafi'ee in Makkah. Many people received knowledge from him, from them: al-Bukhaaree who used him as an authoritative source in his Saheeh, and he is the first man in his book. Imaam al-Bukhaaree related from him the hadeeth, "Verily actions are by intentions"

The two Raazees: Aboo Zur'ah, and Aboo Haatim also related from him, and Muhammad Ibn Yahyaa adh-Dhuhalee, and Yazeed Ibn Sufyaan, and Bishr Ibn Moosaa al-Asdee narrated his musnad from him. He died in the year 218H. May Allaah have Mercy upon him. [2]


Imaam al-Humaydee supplemented his musnad with this treatise, which was published in the year 1963C.E., with the checking of Shaykh Habeebur-Rahmaan al-A'dthamee. Indeed I authenticated this work from the preserved hand-written manuscript of al-Musnad, from the preserved texts in Daarul-Kutubudh-Dhaahiriyyah in Damascus, and it is found under no. (hadeeth - 541). The manuscript was collected in the year 681H


This treatise is authenticated from the writer, just as his musnad is. It is authentic according to the people of hadeeth, with sufficient proof. The imaams of the Salaf met it with approval, and it is authentically mentioned in the writings concerning the creed of the Salaf. So from that is:

1. It was mentioned by the Imaam, the accomadator of the Religion, Ibn Qudaamah in Dhammut-Ta'weel point (no. 39), with a chain of narrators from Abee 'Alee as-Sawwaaf - a narrator of the musnad - from Bishr Ibn Moosaa, from al-Humaydeee who said: "The principles of the Sunnah are.." So he mentioned some things, and then he said: 'And whatever is spoken about in the Qur'aan'" So he mentioned what will follow in points (no. 8-9).

2. Shaykhul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah mentioned it when he said in Majmoo'ul-Fataawaa (4/6): "And it is established from al-Humaydee, 'Alee Ibn Bishr, 'Abdullaah Ibn Zubayr, that he said: 'The principles of the Sunnah are…so he mentioned some things.' So he agreed with what Ibn Qudaamah mentioned.

3. Likewise, the text itself from this treatise is quoted from al-Imaam Ibnul-Qayyim in Ijtimaa'ul-Juyooshil-Islaamee (p. 86).

4. It is also mentioned by al-Haafidh adh-Dhahabee in: Tadhkiratul-Huffaadh (2/44) with a chain of narrators from Ibn Qudaamah as has preceded. al-'Uloow (p. 133), as what is before it.

5. Al-Arba'een fee Sifaati Rabbil-'Aalameen (no. 75). He quotes the conclusion of al-Musnad.


It is mentioned in the beginning after the conclusion of the musnad with the following name: Usoolus-Sunnah then "Bishr Ibn Moosaa informed us from al-Humaydee…" So the name of the treatise is established.


Bishr Ibn Moosaa related to us that al-Humaydee said:

1. The Sunnah is that a man believes in Pre-Decree, the good of it, and the evil of it, and the sweetness of it, and the bitterness of it. He should know that whatever afflictions befall him are not due to his wrongdoings, and his wrongdoings are not due to his afflictions; rather all of that is a virtue from Allaah the Mighty and Majestic. [3]

2. Eemaan (faith) is statement and action, it increases and decreases. A statement is not beneficial except with an action, and neither is an action or statement beneficial, except with an intention, and neither is an action, statement, or intention beneficial, except with the Sunnah.

3. To pray for forgiveness upon all of the Companions of Muhammad . So verily Allaah the Mighty and Majestic says: "And those who came after them saying: Our Lord, forgive us and our brothers who preceded us in faith." [Sooratul-Hashr 59:10] So do not enjoin [4] except with forgiveness for them. So whoever reviles them, or finds fault in them, or in one of them, then he is not upon the Sunnah, and he does not have any right to the booty. [5] It was reported to us about Maalik from more than one person that he said: "Allaah the Exalted divided up the booty when he said: "For the poor emigrants who were expelled from their homes." [Sooratul-Hashr 59:8] He said: "And those who came after them saying: Our Lord, forgive us…" to the end of the aayah. So (whosoever) [6] does not say this about them, then there is no booty for him."

4. The Qur'aan is the Word of Allaah. [7] I heard Sufyaan saying: "The Qur'aan is the Word of Allaah, and whoever says that it is created, then he is an innovator. We have not heard anyone saying this."

5. I heard Sufyaan [8] saying: "Faith (Eemaan) is knowledge and action, it increases and decreases." So his brother Ibraaheem Ibn 'Uyaynah said to him: "Do not say that it decreases." So he became angry and said: "Be silent you child, until nothing like this remains!"

6. The affirmation of the ru'yah [9] after death.

7. Whatever the Qur'aan and hadeeths speak about, like "And the Jews say the Hand of Allaah is fettered. May their hands be fettered." [10] Likewise, "And the Heavens shall be rolled up in His Right Hand." [11] Whatever resembles this from the Qur'aan and hadeeths, we do not increase in them, and we do not explain them away.

8. We say: "Ar-Rahmaan (The Most Merciful) has ascended above the Throne." [12] Whoever alleges other than this, then he is a lying Jahmee!

9. We do not say as the Khawaarij say: "Whoever commits a major sin, then he has indeed disbelieved."

10. We do not declare a person to be a disbeliever due to something of sins, disbelief is only for the one who abandons the five [13], about which the Messenger of Allaah said: "Islaam is built upon five: testifying that none has the right to be worshipped, except Allaah, and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allaah, and the establishment of prayer, and giving charity (zakaat), and fasting in the month of Ramadaan, and pilgrimage to the House." [14]

So as for three from them, then there is no difference concerning the one who abandons them: Whoever does not testify to the two testimonies, and does not pray, and does not fast, even though there is nothing to delay from him from its time. There is no punishment for the one who makes it up after his intentional negligence in it from its time. So as for charity (zakaat), then when does not offer it, being content with it - then he is a sinner for holding it back.

So as for Pilgrimage (hajj), then it becomes obligatory upon him, if the means for him is present. It is not generally obligatory upon him, until he has no reason to avoid it. When he performs it, he becomes one of those who have performed it, and he is not a sinner for delaying it if he performs it, as he would be a sinner in charity. This is because charity is a right of the needy Muslims, if he holds it back from them, then he is a sinner until he gives it to them. So as for Pilgrimage, then it is between the servant and his Lord. If he performs it, then he has indeed performed it. If he dies and the affordability was present, yet he did not perform pilgrimage, he will ask to be returned to this world for Pilgrimage. [15] It is obligatory for his family to perform Pilgrimage for him, and it is obligatory upon the one who offers it for him to return it to him as if it were a debt upon him, so he recompenses him after his death.


[1] This is a translation of the treatise Usoolus-Sunnah by Imaam al-Humaydee, one of the teachers of Ameerul-Mu'mineen fil-Hadeeth, Muhammad Ibn Ismaa'eel al-Bukhaaree. We have taken it from al-Mujallatul-Hikmah (no. 1). The checking is by Aboo Muhammad 'Abdullaah Ibn Yoosuf al-Juday' who is probably best known for his recent work, al-'Aqeedatus-Salafiyyah fee Kalaami Rabbil Barriyah. All footnotes are by the checker unless otherwise stated.

[2] See his biographies in Tahdheebul-Kamaal of al-Mizzee (14/512), and in Siyar A'laamun-Nubalaa of adh-Dhahabee (10/616).

[3] This is affirmed by the hadeeth of Sufyaan in Saheeh Muslim (no. 2999), where he said: The Messenger of Allaah said: "How remarkable is the affair of the believer! Verily all of his affair is good, and none is like that except the believer. If a good thing befalls him, he is thankful, so it becomes good for him. If an evil affliction befalls him, he is patient, so it becomes good for him."

[4] In the original, the word is "believe". This is because of a misplacement of the diacritical marks as al-A'dthamee points out in his checking.

[5] This is authentically reported from Maalik, and al-Laalikaa'ee reported it in his as-Sunnah (no. 2400) by way of Ma'een Ibn 'Eesaa who said: "I heard Maalik Ibn Anas saying: 'Whoever reviles the Companions of the Messenger of Allaah , then he does not have a right to the booty. Allaah the Mighty and Majestic says: 'For the poor emigrants who were expelled from their homes and their properties, seeking bounties from Allaah and His Approval'…to the end of the verse. These were the Companions of the Messenger of Allaah who migrated with him. Then He said: 'And those who were settled in their homes and adopted faith', these were the Ansaar (helpers). Then He said: 'And those who came after them saying: Our Lord, forgive us and our brothers who preceded us in faith.' So the booty is for these three. So whoever reviles the Companions of the Messenger of Allaah , then he is not from these three, and he does not have a right to the booty.'" I say, its chain of narrators is authentic. Shaykhul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah said, "This is known from Maalik, and other than Maalik from the people of knowledge such as, Aboo 'Ubayd Qaasim Ibn Sallaam." Refer to Minhaajus-Sunnah (2/20). I say, it is reported from Aboo 'Ubayd by Aboo Bakr al-Khallaal in his as-Sunnah (no. 792).

[6] This is an unavoidable addition from the published version.

[7] This is upon its real sense ('alaa haqeeqatihi), with letters (huroof) and meanings. This is one of the matter in which the various groups from among the people of the Qiblah have differed. I have explained it in detail in my book, al-'Aqeedatus Salafiyyah fee Kalaami Rabbil Bariyyah, so the reader may refer to it.

[8] He is Sufyaan Ibn 'Uyaynah.

[9] That is the believers' seeing their Lord the Blessed and Exalted, and the narrations concerning this aspect of belief are recurrent and authentic. They have been collected by many scholars, such as al-Aajurree, and Ibnul-A'raabee, and ad-Daaraqutnee, and other than him

[10] Sooratul-Maa'idah [5:64].

[11] Sooratuz-Zumar [39:67].

[12] Soorah-Taa Haa [20:5].

[13] There is no difference amongst the people of knowledge regarding the disbelief of the one who abandons the two testimonies, likewise, there is no difference between them concerning the disbelief of the one who denies the obligation of one of the other pillars, if the proof has been established upon him. Rather, there is a difference amongst the schools of law (madhaahib) concerning the abandonment of these four in action. Refer to al-Eemaan (p. 245, 287, 354), and Majmoo'ul-Fataawaa (7/600-616).

[14] Translators Note: This hadeeth was reported by Ibn 'Umar. It was related by Ahmad, al-Bukhaaree, Muslim, at-Tirmidthee, and Nasaa'ee. Shaykh Muhammad Naasirud-Deen al-Albaanee declared it authentic, refer to Saheehul-Jaami' (no. 2840), ar-Rawd (no. 270), and al-Irwaa'ul Ghaleel (no. 781).

[15] This meaning is related as a hadeeth that is not authentic. It is reported by 'Abd Ibn Humayd (no. 693), and by at-Tirmidthee in his Jaami' (no. 3313), and Ibn Jareer in his Tafseer (28/118), and at-Tabaraanee in al-Kabeer (12/114-115), and Ibn 'Adee in al-Kamaal (7/2670), by way of Abee Jinaab al-Kalabee, from adh-Dhihaab Ibn Mazaahim, from Ibn 'Abbaas who said: "Whoever has wealth should go for Pilgrimage, or if he has wealth, charity is obligatory upon him. So if he did not give charity, he will ask to be returned from death." They said: "O Ibn 'Abbaas, we thought this was a disbeliever." He said: "I shall read to you from that Qur'aan." Then he read: "O you who believe, do not be distracted by your wealth, nor by your children, from the remembrance of Allaah." until he read: "So give charity, and be from amongst the righteous." "This refers to the man." I say, its chain of narrators is weak due to three defects: Firstly, this Aboo Jinaab - and he is Yahyaa Ibn Abee Hamzah - is weak in hadeeth, nor strong, and he was notorious for tadlees (concealment). Secondly, ad-Dahhaak never heard from Ibn 'Abbaas. Thirdly, there is a difference as to whether Ibn Jinaab related this narration as marfoo' (elevated), or mawqoof (stopped). So ath-Thawree, and 'Umar Ibn 'Adee report it from him as marfoo', whereas Ja'far Ibn 'Awn - as at-Tirmidhee reports (no. 3313) - and Sufyaan Ibn 'Uyaynah report it from him as mawqoof. I say that if these three defects are proven, then the tadlees of Abee Jinaab completes a fourth.

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