Indeed all praise is
for Allaah. We praise Him, seek His help and we seek His forgiveness and
we seek refuge in Allaah from the evils of our souls and our evil actions.
Whosoever Allaah guides then none can misguide and whosoever Allaah misguides
then none can guide aright. I bear witness that none has the right to be
worshipped except Allaah alone, having no partners and I bear witness that
Muhammad is His servant and
Messenger. To proceed:
Knowing the Straight Path
‘Abdullaah ibn Mas’ood said: The Prophet drew a line for us and said: "This is Allaah’s Straight Path." Then he drew lines to its right and left and then said: "These are other paths. Upon every one of them there is a devil calling towards it." Then he recited:
Therefore, that which is necessary for the Muslims - both individuals and groups - in orderr to prepare for the mighty task and to achieve the lofty goal, is to truly know the straight path, it’s people, their ‘aqeedah (belief) and their manhaj (methodology), knowing also the innovations and evils which cause one to separate from this way. The wisdom in learning about the evil is taken from the hadeeth of Hudhayfah ibn al-Yamaan where he said: "The people used to ask the Messenger of Allaah about the good, but I used to ask him about the evil for fear that it would overtake me..."
"Indeed this is My Straight Path, so follow it. And do not follow other paths, they will separate you from His Path." 
And may Allaah have mercy upon the one who said in poetic wisdom: I learnt what was evil, not for itself, but to avoid it. He who does not know evil from good, falls into it. Abul-‘Aaliyah (d.90H) - rahimahullaah - said: "Learn Isslaam. Then when you have learnt Islaam, do not turn away from it to the right nor the left. But be upon the Straight Path and upon the Sunnah of your Prophet and that which his companions are upon ... and beware of these innovations because they cause enmity and hatred amongst you. But stick to the original state of affairs which was there before they divided." So ‘Aasim said: I related this to al-Hasan al-Basree so he said: "He has given you sincere advice and has told you the truth."
The Original State of Affairs
[It is hoped that this leaflet will be a small contribution towards introducing to the noble brothers and sisters the importance of the]...original state of affairs, which has as its pure and sweet spring, the Qur’aan and the Sunnah, built upon the understanding of the Salafus-Saalih - the pious predecessors of this Ummah - the first three generations of Muslims whose excellence has been testified to by the Prophet in his saying (which means): "The most excellent of mankind is my generation, then those who follow them, then those who follow them."
This principle - the obligation of adhering to the Qur’aan and the Sunnah upon the understanding of the Salafus-Saalih - being the cornerstone principle of >Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah, as Abu Haneefah (d.150H) - rahimahullaah - said: "Stick to the narrations and the way of the Salaf and beware of newly invented matters, for all of it is innovation." Also Imaam al-Awzaa’ee (d.157H) - rahimahullaah - said: "Patiently restrrict yourself to the Sunnah and pause where the people paused, say what they said and avoid what they avoided. Take to the path of your Salafus-Saalih, for indeed, what was sufficient for them, is sufficient for you." [So, it is hoped that this leaflet will encourage the reader, to seek and follow] ...the path taken by our Salafus-Saalih, differentiating between their way and the way of those who opposed them with whims, desires, and innovated principles, who seek to sever the people’s connection with the Salaf of this Ummah and its scholars - those whose understanding has been praised and whose path it has been made obligatory to follow.
Softening the Hearts
[As well as the importance of seeking knowledge of]...the correct Islaamic ‘aqeedah and manhaj, and [knowledge]...pertaining to fiqh, tafseer, hadeeth, seerah and siyaasatush-shar’iyyah (concern for the affairs of this Ummah);...[the reader should also seek that which is]...pertaining to aadaab and akhlaaq (manners and etiquettes), tazkiyah (purification of the soul) and the study of the lives of the Salafus-Saaliheen. This, by Allaah’s permission, will further enable the hearts to cultivate submissiveness and humility in the worship and obedience to Allaah - the Most High.
Ibn al-Jawzee (d.597H) - rahimahullaah - said: "I feel that occupying oneself with jurisprudence and acquiring the narrations is hardly enough to correct the heart, unless he adds to that the study of raqaa’iq (heart-melting narrations) and the study of the lives of the Salafus-Saaliheen. Since they attained what is desirous from the narrations and took from the outer actions that which is ordered and required. And I do not inform you of this except after personal trial and experience. Since I have found that the majority of the narrators and the students of Hadeeth are concerned chiefly with obtaining the briefest isnaad (chain of narration) and increase in the number of narrations. And the majority of the jurisprudents are concerned with dialects and how to win arguments. So how can the hearts be softened with these things? Previously a group of the Salaf would visit a pious servant to see his conduct and manners, not to take from his knowledge. This was because the fruits of his knowledge were his manners and conduct, so understand this. Thus, along with the study of fiqh and Hadeeth, study the lives of the Salaf and those who abstained with regards to the world, so that this may be a cause of softness in your hearts."
The Means and the Goal
Yoonus ibn ‘Ubayd (d.139H) - rahimahullaah - said: "With good manners you understannd the knowledge. With the knowledge your actions are corrected. With actions wisdom is obtained. With wisdom you understand zuhd (abstinence) and are granted its benefits. With zuhd comes abandoning the world. With abandoning the world comes desire for the hereafter. With desire for the hereafter the pleasure of Allaah - the Mighty and Majestic - is obtained."
Abu Qilaabah (d.104H) - rahimahullaah - said: "If Allaah gives you knowledge, then give Him worship; and do not let your desire be just to narrate it to the people."
Abu ‘Abdullaah ar-Roodhabaaree said: "He who goes out for knowledge, desiring knowledge, it does not benefit him. He who goes out for knowledge seeking the action by the knowledge, even little knowledge benefits him."
Maalik ibn Deenaar - rahimahullaah - said: "When a servant seeks the knowledge for practice, his knowledge humbles him. When he seeks it for other than that, it increases him in immorality and pride by it."
Al-Haafidh Ibn Rajab (d.795H) - rahimahullaah - said: "So the beneficial knowledge from amongst all the types of knowledge is to take possession of the texts of the Book and the Sunnah and to understand their meanings, and to limit oneself to that which is reported from the Companions, the Taabi’een and their Successors - with regards to the meaning of the Qurr’aan and Hadeeth, and what is reported from them as regard to the halaal (lawful) and haraam (prohibited), and zuhd, raqaa’iq, the accounts (of previous nations and Prophets), and other than that. Striving firstly, to distinguish what is authentic and what is weak; and then secondly, striving to understand and comprehend it. And there is enough in that for the intelligent one, and enough to occupy one who busies himself with beneficial knowledge. And he who stops at that and makes his intention purely for the Face of Allaah and seeks His help - then Allaah will help him, guide him and grant him success, satisfaction, understanding and inspiration. Then he will take the benefits of this knowledge - which are found through it alone - and that is fear of Allaah, as Allaah - the Exalted and Majestic - says (which means):
"Indeed, it is only those who have knowledge, amongst His slaves, that fear Allaah.""
Thus - O noble reader - if this brief introduction is something already familiar to you, then we hope that it will serve as a reminder for you - if Allaah wills - since it will not be hidden from any Muslim, whatever level of knowledge they are at, that reminding of the truth has a very lofty station in our great and tolerant religion, as Allaah - the most High - says (which means):
Al-Hasan al-Basree (d.110H) - rahimahullaah - said: "If there was a man who reached the first Salaf, then he (this man) was up today, he would not recognise anything of Islaam." The narrator said: And al-Hasan put his hand on his cheek and said: "Except for this prayer." Then he said: "Then how is it - by Allaah - for one who lives in this bad time, not having reached the Salafus-Saalih. So he sees an innovator calling to his innovation, and a worldly person calling to the world. But Allaah protects him from that and makes his heart lean towards those Salfus-Saalih. Asking about their way, seeking their narrations and following their path. Allaah will recompense him with a great reward. So be like that if Allaah wills."
"So remind! For indeed reminding benefits the Believers."[15
1. All Qur’aanic
quotations are translations of the meaning of the Qur’aan.
2. Sooratul-An’aam (6):153.
3. Hasan: Related by Ahmad (1/435) and an-Nasaa’ee (7/49). It was authenticated by Shaykh al-Albaanee in his checking to Kitaab us-Sunnaah (no.16) of Ibn Abee ‘Aasim.
4. Related by al-Bukhaaree (6/615) and Muslim (12/235).
5. Related by Ibn Battah in al-Ibaanah (no.136).
6. Related by al-Bukhaaree (no.2652) and Muslim (no.2533), from Ibn Mas’ood radiallaahu 'anhu.
7. Related by as-Suyootee in Sawnul-Mantaq wal-Kalaam (p.32).
8. Related by Imaam al-Aajurree in ash-Sharee’ah (p.58) and also al-Bayhaqee in Madhkal ilas-Sunan (no.233).
9. Sayid ul-Khaatir (p.216).
10. Related by al-Khatteeb in Iqtidaa’ul-‘Ilmil-‘Aml (no.37).
11. Iqtidaa’ul-‘Ilmil-‘Aml (no.29).
12. Iqtidaa’ul-‘Ilmil-‘Aml (no.31).
13. Soorah Faatir (35):28.
14. Fadlu ‘Ilmus-Salaf ‘alal-Khalaf (p.48) of al-Haafidh Ibn Rajab.
15. Soorah adh-Dhaariyaat (51):55.
16. Related by Ibn Waddaah in Al-Bida’ wan-Nahee ‘Anhaa (p.74).