7. "If you see me saying something, and contrary to it is authentically-reportedfrom the Prophet (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam), then know that my intelligencehas departed."
8. "For everything I say, if there is something authentic from the Prophet(sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) contrary to my saying, then the hadeeth of theProphet (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) comes first, so do not follow my opinion."
9. "Every statement on the authority of the Prophet (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam)is also my view, even if you do not hear it from me."
4) Ahmad ibn Hanbal(rahimahullah)
Imaam Ahmad was the foremost among the Imams in collecting the Sunnah andsticking to it, so much so that he even "disliked that a book consisting of deductions and opinions be written."
Because of this he said:1. "Do not follow my opinion; neither follow the opinion of Malik, nor Shaafi'i, norAwzaa'i, nor Thawri, but take from where they took."
In one narration: "Do not copy your Deen from anyone of these, but whatevercomes from the Prophet (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) and his Companions, takeit; next are their Successors, where a man has a choice."Once he said: "Following
means that a man follows what comes from theProphet (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) and his Companions; after the Successors,he has a choice."
2. "The opinion of Awzaa'i, the opinion of Malik, the opinion of Abu Hanifah: all of it is opinion, and it is all equal in my eyes. However, the proof is in the narrations(from the Prophet (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) and his Companions)."
3. "Whoever rejects a statement of the Messenger of Allaah (sallallahu 'alayhi wasallam) is on the brink of destruction."
These are the clear, lucid sayings of the Imams (Allaah Exalted be pleased withthem) about sticking to the Hadeeth and forbidding the following of their opinionwithout clearly- visible evidence, such that mere opinion and interpretation is notacceptable.Hence, whoever adhered to whatever of the Sunnah that was proved authentic,even if it opposed some of the Imams' sayings, he would not be conflicting withtheir madhhab, nor straying from their path; rather, such a person would befollowing all of them and would be grasping the most trustworthy hand-hold,which never breaks. However, this would not be the case with the one whoabandoned any of the authentic Sunnah simply because it contradicted theirviews; nay, such a person would be being disobedient to them and opposing theirabove mentioned sayings, while Allaah says:"But no, by Your Lord, they can have no (real) faith, until they make you judge inall disputes between them, and find in their souls no resistance against yourdecisions, but accept them with the fullest conviction."
. He also says:"Then let those beware who withstand the Messenger's order, lest some trialbefall them or a grievous penalty be inflicted on them."
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