Term ahlul-hadith and ahlul-athar in the history

“There will not cease to be a group from my Ummah victorious and steadfast upon the truth, those who abandon them will not harm them, until the command of Allah comes about.” [Sahih Muslim (6/52-53) and Sunan Abu Dawud (2/202)]

“Indeed the people of the Book before you split into seventy-two sects. And this nation will split into seventy-three sects, seventy-two are in the Fire and one in Paradise”. And in another narration, “All are in the Fire except one.” It was asked: Who is that one? He replied, “That which I and my Companions are upon” [Jami at-Tirmidhi (5/62) and Mustadrak al-Haakim (1/128)]

The Victorious Group is the Saved-Sect, there is no difference because it consists of one reality” (Shaykh Abu Usamah Saleem Ibn ‘Eed al-Hilaalee)

This may or may not be relevant. Here is a list of the terms I prepared a very long time ago used by the past (and present) Scholars.

Ahlul Athar/Atharee

Imaam Ar-Raazee (d.277AH) said: “Our madhhab and chosen path is following the Messenger of Allaah (sallaallaahu alaihi wa sallam) and the taabi’een and holding onto the madhhab of Ahlul-Athar, such as Abu Abdullaah Ahmad Ibn Hanbal” (Sharh usoolul I’ttiqaad Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaa’ah 1/179 of Imaam Laalikaa’ee d.428AH)

Imaam Ar-Raazee (d.277AH) said: “The distinguishing sign of the Ahlul Bid’ah (people of Innovation) is that they find fault with the Ahlul-Athar” (Al-I’ttiqaad p.118 of Imaam Saaboonee d.449AH)

Imaam As-Sam’aanee (d. 489AH) said: “Al-Atharee – This is a term of affiliation to the athar, meaning the hadeeth. And its students and followers became famous for this term of affiliation: Abu Bakr Sa’ad Ibn Abdullaah Al-Atharee at-Toosee…” (al-Insaab 1/84)

Imaam Adh-Dhahabee (d.748AH) said (about shaykhul islam Isma’eel Al-Harawee d.481AH – the author of Dhammul-Kalaam) :”He was Shaykhul Islam, a dedicated Atharee. He came out against the people of kalaam” (As-Siyaar alaam a 18/506)

Imaam Safaareenee (d.1188AH) said: “So he (Ahmad Ibn Hanbal) was the Imaam of Ahlul-Athar, so whoever behaves in this manner of conduct, then he is Atharee” (Lawaami ul-Anwaaril-Bahiyyah p.64)


Imaam Sufyaan ath-Thawree (d.167AH) said: “If they did not come to me, I would go to them in their houses – meaning Ahlul-Hadeeth” (Sharaf As’Haabul Hadeeth p.180 of Al-Khateeb Al-Baghdadee d.468AH)

Imaam Alee Ibnul Madeenee (d.234AH) said concerning the hadeeth: “There shall not cease to be a group from amongst my Ummah apparent upon the truth”…”They are Ahlul-Hadeeth” (Ad-Deenar p.63 of Imaam Adh-Dhahabee d.748AH)

Imaam Ash-Shaafi’ee (d.204AH) said: “Stick to the Ahlul-Hadeeth, since they are the most correct of the people” (As-Siyaar 14/197 of Imaam Adh-Dhahabee d.748AH)

Imaam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal (d.241AH) said: “Ahlul-Hadeeth are the best ones to speak about knowledge” (Sharaf As’Haabul Hadeeth p.97 of Al-Khateeb Al-Baghdadee d.468AH)

Imaam Qutaybah Ibn Sa’eed (d. 240AH) said: “When you see a man loving Ahlul-Hadeeth, then he is upon the Sunnah. And whosoever opposes that, then know that he is an innovator” (Al-I’ttiqaad p.121 of Imaam Saaboonee d.449AH)

Imaam Abu ‘Uthmaan as-Saaboonee (d.449AH) said: The signs of the people of innovation are clear and obvious. The most apparent of their signs is their severe enmity for the Ahlul-Hadeeth. [Aqeedatul-Salaf, Ashaabul-Hadeeth – Page 101]

Imaam As-Sam’aanee (d.489AH) said: “From that which proves that the Ahlul-Hadeeth are upon the truth is that if you were to read all of their written books, from the first of them to the last of them, their old and new, along with the fact that they lived in different countries and times and there were long distances between them and each one of them lived in a region from amongst he regions, you will find them upon a single way and single matter with regards to the explanation of the creed” (Al-Intisaar li-Ahlul Hadeeth. p.45)

Imaam Asbahaanee (d.535AH) said: “The Ahlul-Hadeeth were mentioned, and they are the saved sect upon the truth until the Hour is established” (Al-Hujjah fee Bayaanil-Mahajjah 1/246)

Imaam Ibn Taymiyyah (d.728AH) said: “There is nothing wrong with the view that the Ahlul-Hadeeth are the most knowledgeable of the Ummah concerning the knowledge of the Messenger (sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam) (Al-Fataawa 4/91)

Imaam Ibn Taymiyyah (d.728AH) said: “So the belief of Ahlul-Hadeeth is the purified Sunnah, because that consists of the belief which was confirmed from the Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam)” (Minhaajus-Sunnah 4/59-60)

Imaam Ibn Taymiyyah (d.728AH) said: “The most deserving people of being the Firqat an-Najiyah (saved sect) is Ahlul-Hadeeth wa as-Sunnah who do not follow anyone with bigoted allegiance except the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam). [al-Fataawa 3/247]

Imaam Ibnul Qayyim (d.751AH) said: “The Ahlul-Hadeeth are the helpers and chosen ones of the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam)” (An-Nooniyyah p.251)

Imaam Ibnul Qayyim (d.751AH) said: “Everyone knows that the Ahlul-Hadeeth are the most truthful of all the groups, as Ibnul-Mubaarak (d.181AH) said, ‘I found the Religion with the Ahlul-Hadeeth, kalaam with the Mu’tazilah, the lie with the raafidah, the trick with the people of opinion” (Mukhtasar Sawaa iqul-Mursalah 2/359)

Imaam Ibn Muflih (d.763AH) said: “Ahlul-Hadeeth are the saved sect, they are well established upon the truth” (Al-Intisaar li-As’haabil-Hadeeth p.53)

Imaam Ibn Kathir (d.774AH) said concerning the verse: (And remember) the Day when We shall call together all human beings with their (respective) Imaam. So whosoever is given his record in his right hand, such will read their records, and they will not be dealt with unjustly in the least” (Al-Isra 17:71). “Some of the Salaf said this is the greatest honor for the Ahlul-Hadeeth, because their leader is the Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam).” [Tafsir Ibn Kathir 3/56]

Imaam Ibn Rajab (d.795AH) said: “As for the Imaams and Fuqahaa of Ahlul-Hadeeth, then they follow the authentic hadeeth in the way that it was acted upon by the Companions and those after them or by a group from amongst them” (Fadl Ilm us-Salaf p.57)

Imaam as-Safaareenee (d.1188AH) said: And we are not focusing on mentioning the virtues of the Ahlul-Hadeeth, for indeed their virtues are well known and their merits are many. So whoever belittles them, then he is despicable and lowly. And whoever hates them, then he is from the backward party of the Devil. [Lawaa’ihul-Anwaar 2/355]

Imaam Ahmad ad-Dehlawee (d.1375AH) said: “Indeed all of the people of the countries that were conquered by the Companions were described with the name, Ahlul-Hadeeth” (Taareekh Ahlul-Hadeeth p.27)

Imaam Ahmad ad-Dehlawee (d.1375AH) said: “The truth is with the Ahlul-Hadeeth, and they are the Saved Sect” (Taakeekh Ahlul-Hadeeth p.130)

Imaam Ahmad ad-Dehlawee (d.1375AH) said: “It will not be hidden from the one who knows the Book that usage of the term Ahlus-Sunnah is not correct to be used for any of the current sects, except for the Ahlul-Hadeeth” (Taareekh Ahlul-Hadeeth p.145)

Imaam Muhammad Nasir ud-Deen Al-Albaanee (d.1420AH) said: “Indeed, the explanation of these Imaams for the apparent Group and Saved sect being Ahlul-Hadeeth has become strange for some people” (As-Saheehah 1/543)

Shaykh Rabee’ Ibn Hadee al-Madkhali said: “Indeed, Allaah granted nobility to the Ahlul-Hadeeth and He honoured them with love, respect and allocation of importance for the purified Sunnah” (Makaanah Ahlul-Hadeeth p.14)

As’Haabul Hadeeth

Imaam Sufyaan ath-Thawree (d.167AH) said: “The Angels are guardians of the heavens and the As’haabul Hadeeth are the guardians of the earth” (Sharaf As’Haabul Hadeeth p.91 of Al-Khateeb Al-Baghdadee d.468AH)

Imaam Ibnul Mubaarak (d.181AH) spoke about the hadeeth “There shall not cease to be a group from amongst my Ummah apparent upon the truth”. So he said “According to me, they are As’haabul Hadeeth” (Sharaf As’Haabul Hadeeth p.61 of Al-Khateeb Al-Baghdadee d.468AH)

Imaam Ash-Shaafi’ee (d.204AH) said: “When I see a man from the As’haabul Hadeeth, then it is as if I am seeing the Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam) living” (Sharaf As’Haabul Hadeeth p.94 of Al-Khateeb Al-Baghdadee d.468AH)

Imaam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (d.241AH) said concerning the hadeeth: “The Ummah shall split into seventy odd sects, all of them being in the fire, except one” So Imaam Ahmad said, “If the victorious group is not As’haabul Hadeeth, then I do not know who they are” (maam Haakim (d.403AH) in Ma’rifah Uloomil-Hadeeth p.3)

Imaam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (d.241AH) said: “Whosoever magnifies the As’haabul-Hadeeth will become magnified in the sight of the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam). And whosoever despises them will fall in the sight of the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam), because the As’haabul-Hadeeth are the narrators of the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam)” (Manaaqibul Imaam Ahmed Ibn Hanbal, p.180 of Imaam Ibnul Jawzee d.597AH)

Imaam Muhammad Ibn Ismaeel al-Bukharee (d.256AH) said: “Spoke about the hadeeth, ‘There shall not cease to be a group from amongst my Ummah’, so Imaam Bukharee said, “As’haabul-Hadeeth“. [Al-Asbahaanee (d.535AH), al Hujjah fee Bayanil Mahajjah 1/246]

Imaam Muhammad Ibn Hibbaan (d.354AH) said: “The closest people to the Prophet (salallaahu alaihi wa sallam) on the Day of Judgement will be the As’haabul-Hadeeth, since there is no one in this Ummah who sends more greetings upon him then them” (Saheeh Ibn Hibbaan 3/193)

Al-Khateeb Al-Baghdaadee (d.468AH) said: “The As’haabul-Hadeeth are the inheritors of the Messenger (sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam) in whatever he left behind of the Sunnah and the types of wisdom” (Sharaf As’haabul-Hadeeth p.93)

Imaam as-Saaboonee (d.449AH) said: “Indeed, the As’haabul Hadeeth testified to the Wahdaaniyyah (Oneness) of Allaah” (Aqeedatus-Salaf wa As’Haabul Hadeeth p.3)

Imaam As-Sam’aanee (d.489AH) said: “So there is no path to knowing what the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam) called the people to from the upright Religion and the Staright path, except through this path which is traversed by the As’haabul-Hadeeth” (Al-Intisaar li-Ahlul Hadeeth. p.44)

Imaam Abdul Qaadir al-Jeelaanee (d.561H) – rahimahullah – said: “As for al-Firqatun-Naajiyah (the Saved-Sect) it is Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah, and there is no name for Ahlus-Sunnah except one – and that is Ashaabul-Hadeeth“. (Al-Ghuniyatut-Taalibeen p.212)

Imaam Muqbil Ibn Hadee al-Wadi’ee (d.1421AH) said: “So as for As’haabul-Hadeeth, then they are the group which Allah has chosen to preserve His Religion. And they are the happiest of people due to the hadeeth ‘Whosoever sends greetings upon me, Allah will send ten greetings upon him’. It is related by Muslim. This is because they are the ones who read the books of hadeeth the most, and everytime they pass by a mention of the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam), they send greetings upon him. [al-Makhraj minal-Fitnah p.73]


The Prophet Muhammad (salllaallaahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “I think my death is near, so fear Allaah and be patient, for I will be a fitting Salaf for you” (Sahih Muslim no.6004)

Imaam Abu Haneefah (d.150AH) said: “Adhere to the narrations and way of the Salaf, and beware of newly invented matters (in religion), for all of it is innovation.” (Sawnul-Mantaq wal-Kalaam (p. 32) of Imaam as-Suyuti)

Imaam al-Awzaa’ee (d.157AH) – rahimahullaah – said: “Patiently restrict yourself to the Sunnah and stop where the people stopped, say what they said and avoid what they avoided. Take the path of your Salaf as-Salih, for indeed, what was sufficient for them is sufficient for you”. [Ash-Sharee’ah (p.58) of al-Aajurree]

Imaam Al-Asbahaanee (d.430AH) said: “The sign of Ahlus-Sunnah is that they follow the Salaf as-Saalih and abandon all that is innovated and newly introduced into the Deen.” (Al-Hujjah fee Bayaanil Mahajjah 1/364)

Imaam As-Sam’aanee (d.489AH) said: “As-Salafee – this is an ascription to the Salaf and following their ways, in that which is related from them.” (Al-lnsaab 3/273)

Imaam Ibn Taymiyyah (d.728AH) said: “There is no blame on the one who proclaims the madh’hab of the Salaf, who attaches himself to it and refers to it. Rather, it is obligatory to accept that from him by unanimous agreement (Ittifaaq), because the madh’hab of the Salaf is nothing but the Truth (Haqq).” (From Majmoo al-Fataawaa, 4/149)

Imaam Adh-Dhahabee (d.748AH) said (about Imaam Daaraqutnee) :”The man would never enter into ‘ilmul-kalam, nor argumentation. He would never delve deeply into that. Rather he was Salafee” (As-Siyaar 16/457)

Imaam Abdul Aziz Ibn Baz (d.1420AH) said: “The victorious group (Taa’ifatul Mansurah) is the saved sect (Firqat an-Naajiyah), the two of them are one. They are Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaa’ah and they are the Salafiyoon” (Al-Ajwibatul Mufeedah an As’ilatil Jadeedah p.75 of Shaykh Saalih al-Fawzaan)

Imaam Muhammad Nasir ud-Deen al-Albaanee (d.1420H) said: “There are some who claim knowledge who deny this ascription, claiming that it has no foundation, saying:“It is not permissible for a Muslim to say: I am Salafee.” And it is as if he is saying: “It is not permissible for me to say: I am following the Salaf as-Saalih in what they were upon in ‘aqeedah, worship and manners!” [Al-Asalaah vol 9, p.87]

Allahumma salli wa sallim ‘ala nabiyeena Muhammad.

(written by brother Ashraf ud-Deen at multaga)