Importance of Learning Hadeeth (its status and its
بسم الله الرحمان الرحيم
السلام عليكم و رحمت الله و بركاته
All praises are due to Allah, we praise Him, we seek His aid and we seek His forgiveness. We seek refuge in Allah from the evil of our souls and from the evil of our actions. Whomsoever Allah guides, then there is no one to misguide him and whomsoever Allah leaves to go astray, then there is no one to guide him. I bear witness that none has the right to be worshipped except Allah, alone, without any partner and that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.
Indeed, the best speech is the speech of Allah and the best of guidance is the guidance of Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم. The worst affairs are the newly invented matters and every newly invented matter is an innovation. Every innovation is misguidance and every misguidance is in the hellfire. O Allaah, send prayers upon Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم and the followers of Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم, just as You sent prayers upon Ibraheem عليه سلام and upon the followers of Ibraheem عليه سلام. Verily, You are full of praise and majesty. O Allaah, send blessings upon Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم and upon the family of Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم , just as You sent blessings upon Ibraheem عليه سلام and upon the family of Ibraheem عليه سلام. Verily, You are full of praise and majesty.
Allah سبحانه و تعالىsays in the Qur’aan:
O you who believe! Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger (Muhammad SAW) and render not vain your deeds. (Muhammad 47:33)
Verily having a relationship with the Hadeeth of Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم is extremely important. Imam Shafi’ee رحمه الله used to say who ever studies Hadeeth, his daleel is the strongest. This statement of Imam ash-Shafi’ee is indicative towards the statement of the Messenger صلى الله عليه و سلم. in which he said, “There will not cease to be a group from my Ummah manifest and upon the truth, not being harmed by those who forsake them neither by those who oppose them”. The reason behind such uniqueness is that they have the Qur’aan and Sunnah. And, no one can overpower the Qur’aan and the Sunnah.
Ameer ul mumineen Umar bin al-Khattaab رضي الله عنه used to say The people of opinions [Ahlul Raai] will argue with you using the ayaat from Qur’aan [i.e. they will interpret the ayaat based on their desires] then he said so you grab them with the Sunnah [Hadeeth] of the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم for verily before the status of Sunnah these people are tired and these people are away from the memorization of Sunnah [Hadeeth] and implementation upon it. Thus the relationship with the Hadeeth of Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم is a sign of virtue amongst the people of correct understanding.
The Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم supplicated by saying May Allah make pleasant (i.e. illuminate, brighten) the face of the man who heard a hadeeth from me, memorized it and then conveyed it (to others) just as he heard it. 
This supplication applies to that person who enjoins three types of relationship with the hadeeth of Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم
1.Hears a hadeeth: meaning that he loves to listen to the sayings of Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم until it resides in his heart. When he listens to the hadeeth his heart feels a difference. That difference is not that which makes his heart constrict and in turn turning him away from the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم but rather it illuminates his heart in a manner that increases his love towards the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم. And, then
2.He preserves it: meaning he memorizes the hadeeth and implements upon it. The Sahabah [May Allah be pleased with them all] did not find a better way to memorize a hadeeth except by implementing upon what their hearts preserved and when they implemented on the hadeeth they would consider it to be preserved. And, then
3.Conveys it (to others) just as he heard it by fulfilling the right of Amaanah [Trust].
It is incumbent upon every Muslim to establish this relationship as there is much blessing in it and the one who is unable to establish this falls in the trap of shaytaan. The protection from innovations and the traps of shaytaan can only be achieved from the hadeeth of Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم.
The status of an innovator is not unknown and his end is very grave. Sahl bin Abdullah Tustharee رحمه الله was an esteemed scholar of Hadeeth and he used to make many sound statements about the Manhaj. He رحمه الله said any person who does an action, Allah on the Day of Judgment will ask from him the proof for those actions and if he succeeded in presenting the proof then he will be from the people of Paradise but if he is unable to present the proof then he will be from the people of Hellfire. Indeed Qur’aan and Hadeeth is a distinction between Paradise and Hellfire thus it is incumbent that our Aqeedah, Manhaj, Actions, behaviour, life and death are based upon daleel (proof) and that they are in accordance with Qur’aan and Hadeeth. Sahl bin Abdullah’s statement is in accordance with the Qur’aan where Allah says:
فَكَيْفَ إِذَا جِئْنَا مِن كُلِّ أمَّةٍ بِشَهِيدٍ وَجِئْنَا بِكَ عَلَى هَـؤُلاء شَهِيدًا
How (will it be) then, when We bring from each nation a witness and We bring you (O Muhammad SAW) as a witness against these people? (An-Nisa 4:41)
This witness is regarding the actions of the servant. A person is standing before his Creator and his actions are being judged. They may include Salah, Hajj, Fasting etc. and Allah سبحانه و تعالى will make Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم a criterion for judging those actions. If those deeds were in accordance with the Sunnah of Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم then that person will be successful. If those actions are not in accordance with the Sunnah and they include innovations then his repentance is not accepted. Such a person is unsuccessful.
The Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم said, Indeed, Allah does not accept the repentance of an innovator, until he ceases from the innovation. And, abandoning of innovations can only occur if one holds on to the Sunnah of Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم. A person when he reads the hadeeth of Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم and implements upon them then he will be away from innovations but when he abandons this methodology then he falls in the traps of Shaytaan.
The Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم said And whomsoever from amongst you lives, then he shall see much differing. So adhere strictly to my Sunnah and the Sunnah of Rightly Guided Caliphs after me. Hold onto it with your molar teeth and beware of newly invented affairs, since every newly invented affair is an innovation and every innovation is a misguidance.
This hadeeth shows that the only way one can protect himself from these innovations is by holding onto the Sunnah of Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم with a strong hold so that nothing can loosen it.
This is why the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم said “I have left two things that you shall not go astray after them so long as you stick to them: the Book of Allah and My Sunnah.” These Ahadeeth are like the strong castles that protect us from all the traps of shaytaan. A person when he adheres to the Sunnah of Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم then he is strong in dunyaa and Akhirah.
The Prophet said Any person who hears my hadeeth and then acts in accordance with it then none can establish proof against him. This is what Imam ash-Shafi’i meant when he said that the person who studies hadeeth his proof is the strongest.
A person who posses the following qualities none can challenge him and they cannot establish proof against him on the Day of Judgement:
a)He hears the Hadeeth of Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم and
b)Agrees with what he hears by implementing upon it,
Islaam is the religion that is strange as the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم said Islam began as something strange and will revert to being strange as it began, so give glad tidings to the strangers. It is possible that those who adhere to the Sunnah of Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم they may face difficulties in the dunia but none can challenge them on the Day of Judgement.
Allah سبحانه و تعالى says:
وَقَالُواْ لَن يَدْخُلَ الْجَنَّةَ إِلاَّ مَن كَانَ هُوداً أَوْ نَصَارَى تِلْكَ أَمَانِيُّهُمْ قُلْ هَاتُواْ بُرْهَانَكُمْ إِن كُنتُمْ صَادِقِينَ
And they say, “None shall enter Paradise unless he be a Jew or a Christian.” These are their own desires. Say (O Muhammad Peace be upon him), “Produce your proof if you are truthful.” (Al-Baqarah 2:111)
And, proof is Qur’aan and Hadeeth. The one who is enriched with these two he is the companion of daleel and none can establish proof against him on the Day of Judgement.
Ayyoob as-sikhtiyaani رحمه الله, a great scholar of hadeeth and a narrator of Bukharee and Muslim رحمهم الله used to say even if I had an itch on my head I would want to scratch it according to the Sunnah of Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم. meaning he wanted all of his actions to be in accordance with the hadeeth of Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم.. And on the authority of Abee Hurairah رضي الله عنه who narrated that the Prophet said: All of my Ummah will enter Paradise except those who refuse So it was asked: And who would refuse, O Messenger of Allaah? He said: Whoever obeys me will enter Paradise and whoever disobeys me will enter the Fire (of Hell).
The Ummah of Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم.is left upon a straight path and those who stay on the straight path will never go astray. This straight path is the path of our Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم alayhi wasallam, his Sahabah and Allah the Most high,
إِنَّ رَبِّي عَلَى صِرَاطٍ مُّسْتَقِيمٍ
Verily, my Lord is on the straight Path (the truth). (Hud 11:56).
Indeed those who follow the Sunnah of Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم regardless of the time and place they are upon that Siraat ul Mustaqeem and Allah says:
فَاسْتَمْسِكْ بِالَّذِي أُوحِيَ إِلَيْكَ إِنَّكَ عَلَى صِرَاطٍ مُّسْتَقِيمٍ
So hold you (O Muhammad SAW) fast to that which is inspired in you. Verily, you are on a Straight Path. (Az-Zukhruf 43:43)
The Messenger of Allaah صلى الله عليه و سلم clarified the flawless methodology in more than one authentic hadeeth. The Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم drew a straight line on the ground one day. Then he drew short lines all around the straight line, on both sides of it. Then he recited Allaah’s Statement, Blessed and Exalted
وَأَنَّ هَـذَا صِرَاطِي مُسْتَقِيمًا فَاتَّبِعُوهُ وَلاَ تَتَّبِعُواْ السُّبُلَ فَتَفَرَّقَ بِكُمْ عَن سَبِيلِهِ ذَلِكُمْ وَصَّاكُم بِهِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ
“And verily, this is my Straight Path, so follow it, and follow not (other) paths, for they will separate you away from His Path. This He has ordained for you that you may become Al-Muttaqeen .” (Al-An’am 6:153)
After the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم read the verse, he ran his finger along the straight path and said: “This is the Path of Allaah, and these paths on its sides, the sides of the straight path, there is a Shaytaan at the head of every path, calling the people to it.” 
Thus this relationship with the Sunnah is a blessing and it is incumbent upon every student of Hadeeth to understand these important aspects.
Abdullah bin Mubarak رحمه الله advised those students who started learning hadeeth by saying: There are six levels for a student of hadeeth:
1)Ikhlas [sincerity]: A student of hadeeth should develop ikhlas and set forth on this journey purely for the sake of Allah
2)Hearing [the hadeeth]: There are two ways in this: a) The sheikh reads the hadeeth and the students listen to him b) The student reads and the sheikh listens. Both ways are considered important and acceptable by the Scholars of Hadeeth.
If the student hears of a scholar of Hadeeth then he should go to him even if it requires travel. Sufyaan ath-Thauree رحمه الله said: If an Alim, Muhaddith, Faqeeh is sitting on a mountain top then that is a Jamaa’ah and it is necessary that the student climbs the mountain and learn from him.
3)Understanding: meaning the correct Understanding. This can be only achieved if one understands that the correct methodology lies with the Sahabah. The correct understanding of hadeeth is extremely important and is a foundation for one’s Deen because if his understanding gets corrupted then he will fall in the traps of shaitaan. It is important to mention that if one wants to truly understand any aspect of Qur’aan and Sunnah then he has to learn from the scholars. If a person reads a book by himself then he will understand it according to his desires which can cause him to go astray but if he learns from a scholar then he will be enlightened with Ikhlaas and light of knowledge. The hearts will unite and the scholar will share with him what he learnt from his teachers thus increasing the blessing and understanding. The scholars of hadeeth used to give extreme importance to learning from a scholar so much so that they used to criticize those who did not learn from scholars. Imam adh-Dhahabee criticized a person by saying he does not have any sheikh. Imam Awza’i رحمه الله used to say. The knowledge of hadeeth was very blessed but there came a point when this entered in books and thus those who were not qualified entered. These people used to buy books and read them according to their desires without learning from scholars.
4)Memorizing it: The knowledge should be listened with utmost attention so that it will enter the heart and illuminate it. As mentioned earlier, the Sahabah did not consider a hadeeth to be memorized until they implemented upon it.
5)Acting upon it: with action the hadeeth enters the heart with complete firmness.
6)Conveying that knowledge: to others with care and by fulfilling all the rights of Amaanah [trust]. The Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم said Convey from me, even if it is a single Ayah. The Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم said Whoever is questioned pertaining to such knowledge that he has and thereafter conceals it, will be bridled by a rein of fire
May Allah grant us the correct understanding and the ability to implement on it Ameen
And Allah Knows Best.
 [Translator’s Note] This was a lecture given to us by Sheikh-ul-Hadeeth Abdullah Naasir Rahmaani حفظ الله on Tuesday, Feb 21st, 2006.
Please NOTE: This work is a brief summary on what the Sheikh said and this translation may contain many mistakes. The Sheikh حفظ الله is Free from any mistake I made in this translation. May Allah make this a benefit for us in this dunia and Akhirah Ameen.
 Sharh us-Sunnah of al-Baghawee (1/235-236 no.112), Saheeh Sunan at-Tirmidhee (2139), Sahih Sunan Abu Dawood (3108), Sahih Sunan Ibn Maajah (2480), Sahih at-Targheeb (4, 85,86)
 Saheeh: Relate by at-Tabaraanee in al-Aswat (no. 4360) and others. It was authenticated by Sheikh Al-Albaanee رحمه الله in Silsilatul-Ahadeeth us-Saheehah (no.1620)
 Saheeh: Related by Abu Dawood (no.4607); at-Tirmidhi no. 2676.
 Musnad Ahmad
 al-Bukhaaree (7280)
 an authentic hadeeth collected by Ahmad and Ad-Daarimee
 Sahih Bukharee, Sahih at-Tirmidhee and others.