By Mujaddid Alf al-Thani Ahmad Sirhindi
“Attainment to this degree of obedient following is conditioned upon tranquillity of the nafs and arrival to the reality of obedient following of the source of the Sacred Law, upon him be peace and blessings; yet, sometimes it occurs without the means of fana and baqa and without the means of spiritual journeying and attraction. It is possible for it to occur without anything of states, ecstasies, theophanies or manifestations, but it is something rare in its time. Attainment to this state via the path of the wilaya is more certain via another path. This other path, in the opinion of this needy one, being the path of absolute faithful obedient following of the noble sunna according to its source, peace and blessings be upon him, and avoidance of any type of bid’ah, one who does not avoid the ‘bid’ah hasanah’ just as he would avoid the blameworthy will not get even a scent of this high degree. This is something difficult in this time for the world is immersed in a profound sea of innovation and content with the darkness of it, who has the ability to speak in this time of the removal of innovation and the raising of the Sunna?
The majority of scholars prefer innovations and assist in effacing the sunna when they give religious rulings allowing wide scope for innovations. They go so far as applying the rule of legal analogical discretion (istihsan) with the reason that any social benefit accrued [from such innovations justifies it] and consequently direct the common people to such practices. What a horrible thing they are doing! Misguidance has become endemic to such an extent and error common place that it has become the ‘common good’! Do they not know that every perceived social benefit is not a reason for which to apply the rule of istihsan? The social benefit/custom envisioned by the Sacred Law is that which existed in the earlier generations (generations relatively safe from the detrimental effects of innovations) and which have occurred by the consensus of people as has been mentioned in the Fatawa Ghiyathiyya.
The Shaykh of Islam al-Shaheed, may Allah have mercy upon him, said that every social benefit/custom understood by the scholars of Balkh is not used in making a determination via istihsan but instead those set as precedent by the earlier generations. This is because they are indications of the Sunnah of the Prophet (Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him), so they take it because he establishes it, upon him be peace. If it is not so then it is not taken as legal evidence unless it is as a consensus of the people of all lands, for such a consensus is a legally binding proof. Do you not see that if a people accept as social custom the buying and selling of alcohol and dealing in interest nevertheless its legal permissibility cannot be sanctioned?
There is no doubt that knowledge of the common practice of all people and cognizance of the practice of all villages and towns is beyond the means of a person’s ability, but still the social practice of the earlier generations, which was in reality established by the Prophet’s precedent, is available. So what concern is there then of the blameworthy and good innovations? Association with the Prophet (Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him) was sufficient to attain to perfections for his companions; every scholar from the pious predecessors attained to what he attained of rusukh (penetrative knowledge) because of his obedience to the Sunna and avoidance of disliked innovations not via choosing the path of the Sufis nor by spiritual journeying and attraction. O Allah make firm our feet upon obedient following of the Sunna and keep us far from committing any type of innovation, [accept this supplication by] means of the source of the Sunna!”