Distinctive Characteristics of Ahl as-Sunnah

Adhering to the Sunnah is an obligation upon every Muslim who testifies to the fact that there is no deity worthy of worship in truth except Allāh, as what comes right after is testifying that Muḥammad ﷺ is the Messenger of Allāh.

Allāh says in al-Qurʾān:

قُلۡ إِن كُنتُمۡ تُحِبُّونَ ٱللَّهَ فَٱتَّبِعُونِي يُحۡبِبۡكُمُ ٱللَّهُ وَيَغۡفِرۡ لَكُمۡ ذُنُوبَكُمۡۚ وَٱللَّهُ غَفُورٞ رَّحِيمٞ
Say, [O Muḥammad], “If you should love Allāh, then follow me, [so] Allāh will love you and forgive you your sins. And Allāh is Forgiving and Merciful.”
– Sūrah al-ʿImrān, ʾĀyah 31

and ʿAbdullāh ibn ʿAmr رضي الله عنه narrated that The Prophet ﷺ said:

None of you truly believes until your desires are in agreement with what I came with.

Kitāb as-Sunnah #10, Kitāb al-Arba’ūn #9, Sunan al-Bayhaqī P. 188, Tārīkh Baghdād 4/369, at-Targhīb wa at-Tarhīb #30, al-Ḥujjah fī Bayān al-Muḥajjah #103, Sharḥ as-Sunnah 1/212-213, Dham al-Kalām #320, Mu’jam as-Safar #1265, al-Ibānah 1/387, Dham al-Hawā P. 18-23, Kanz al-ʿUmmāl 1/217, al-Arba’ūn an-Nawawīyyah #41 | Ṣaḥīḥ to Imām an-Nawawī, Abū Nuʿaym al-Iṣfahānī, Abū Naṣr as-Sijzī, and others

One who traverses upon following the Sunnah of The Prophet ﷺ and his Companions1 will be from Ahl as-Sunnah, just as one who observes Ṣalāh will be from Ahl al-Qiblah2.

Shaykh Aḥmad ibn Yaḥyá an-Najmī رحمه الله (d. 1429 AH/2008 CE) said: “To proceed are distinctive characteristics of Ahl as-Sunnah:

  1. They invite to the Book of Allāh whilst following it in their actions.
  2. They clarify the narrations; meaning, through the Sunnah and the interpretation of the Ṣaḥābah and the Tābʿīn.
  3. They invite to the Sunnah which has been authentically transmitted from The Prophet .
  4. They construct their beliefs around the evidences from the Book of Allāh and it’s (correct) interpretation.
  5. They love the Sunnah, it’s people, and those who carry it; and they believe that Allāh preserves the religion through them. Allāh, Exalted is He, beautified their hearts with (love for) Ahl as-Sunnah & their luminescence, and love for the scholars of the Sunnah. This is from the bounties of Allāh.
  6. They are moderative between extreme negligence and extreme exaggeration.
  7. They are not excessive towards anyone from the A’immah, even if they are infallible (such as the Prophets and Messengers), not a Ṣaḥābī, or other than them.
  8. They detest Ahl al-Bidʾah and clarify their innovations until the people are cautioned and warned.
  9. They are careful in regards to their ʿAqīdah and submit to it’s virtues, unlike innovators.”3

And Allāh knows best.

I ask Allāh to make us from Ahl as-Sunnah & keep us firm upon it, & I ask Allāh to have abundant mercy upon Shaykh Aḥmad ibn Yaḥyá an-Najmī & accept his great contributions to the religion of Islām.

All praise is due to Allāh, may His peace & blessings be upon our final Prophet Muḥammad, his family, his companions, & all those who follow him in guidance.


[1] See Ḥadīth: Stick to the Sunnah & Beware of innovation.
[2] Ahl al-Qiblah is any Muslim who believes in the Kaʾbah being the only direction of prayer.
[3] al-Jāmiʿ li-Shurūḥ Uṣūl as-Sunnah (الجامع لشروح أصول السنة) | Pages 59-60

Ṣafīullāh Labīb ibn Salīm ʿAbd al-Malik
28th of Rabīʿ al-ʾAwwal 1444