Biography of the Author
He is Abu Ubaid al-Qaasim bin Sallaam
al-Baghdaadee, the Imaam, the Mujtahid, the Ocean of knowledge, the Linguist and
the Legal Jurist.
He was born in Harraa in about the year 158
and his father was a Roman slave to some of the people of Harraa.
He heard (learnt) from a group of the
trustworthy Imaams, like Sufyaan bin Uyaynah, Ismaa’eel bin Ulayyah,
Yazeed bin Haaroon, Yahya bin Sa’eed al-Qattaan, Abd ar-Rahmaan bin
Mahdee, Hammaad bin Salma and others.
Imaam ad-Daarimee, Abu Bakr bin Abee
ad-Dunya, Alee bin Abd al-Azeez al-Baghawee, Muhammad bin Yahya al-Marwazee and
others narrate from him.
Imaam Ishaaq bin Raahawayyah said: Allaah
loves the truth, Abu Ubaid is more knowledgeable and has deeper understanding
He also said: we are dependant upon Abu
Ubaid, and Abu Ubaid is not dependant upon us.
Imaam Ahmad bin Hanbal said: Abu
Ubaid is a teacher (Ustaadh) and every day he increases in
And Yahya bin Ma’een was asked about
him to which he replied that people should ask Abu Ubaid about him!
Abu Daawood said: trustworthy,
Al-Haafidh adh-Dhahabee said: whosoever
looks into the books of Abu Ubaid will know his high rank in memorisation and
knowledge, he was a haafidh of hadeeth and it’s defects. Knowledgeable of
fiqh and the difference of opinions, a pillar in the Language, an Imaam in
recitation and he had books concerning them. I have come across his books,
‘Kitaab al-Amwaal’ and ‘Kitaab an-Naasikh wal
Al-Khateeb al-Baghdaadee said: he was
possessing nobility, religion, excellent manners, a good madhab and excellent
books sought after in every land. And the narrators from him are famous and
trustworthy. Deserving of mention and excellence, and his book concerning
‘al-Amwaal’ is one of the best books written on fiqh.
I say: despite these virtues and excellent
qualities the Six Imaams (of the famous six books on hadeeth) did not report any
of his hadeeth, and this is from the many evidences that they reported from only
some of the trustworthy narrators of hadeeth. So there is nothing strange, after
knowing this that Imaam Bukhaaree did not narrate from some of the trustworthy
narrators from the Ahlul Bait may Allaah be pleased with them.
From the words of Abu Ubaid, may Allaah
have mercy upon him, are: the follower of the Sunnah is like one holding onto
hot stones, and in this day he is more excellent in my eyes then the one who
raises the sword in the Way of Allaah.
I say: this was in his time, so what would
be said about our times?
He, may Allaah have mercy upon him, stayed
in Baghdaad for a time, then he became the Qaadee in Turtoos, then after that he
moved to Mecca and he lived there until he died in the year 224.
Chapter 1: the Characteristics of faith concerning it’s completion and
Indeed have you asked me about faith, and
the difference of the nation concerning it’s completion and it’s
increasing and decreasing, and you mentioned that you would like to know the
position of Ahlus Sunnah with regards to this, and the proof of those who differ
from them on this. So indeed, may Allaah have mercy upon you, know that this
subject was discussed by the Salaf at the beginning of this ummah and by those
that followed them (taabi`een) and those who followed them till this day of
ours. I have written to you a short explanation of what I know concerning this.
Know, may Allaah have mercy upon you, that
the People of Knowledge and Concern for the religion have split into two groups
over this issue.
One of them says: Faith is sincerity in the
heart to Allaah, and testimony of the tongue, and action of the limbs.
The other says: Rather faith is in
the heart and upon the tongue, and as for actions then they are from taqwaa
(God-consciousness) and birr
(piety) and are not included in faith.
And we looked into the difference of
opinion of these two groups, and we found that the Book and the Sunnah affirmed
the truth of the group that made Faith intention, saying and action together,
and negated the opinion of the other group.
And the basis of this, which is our
proof, is following what the Qur`aan has spoken of, for indeed Allaah has said in the
unequivocal verse of His Book,
"So if you differ amongst yourselves on
anything then refer it back to Allaah and the Messenger if you believe
in Allaah and the Last Day, that is better and more suitable for final