So the Messenger (‘alaihis salaatu was salaam) laid down the way out for when the differences begin tearing up between the Muslims and controversies become numerous amongst them; and many from the people went astray in the confusion of: ‘where is the truth? I do not know where the truth is!’
The Messenger of Allaah (‘alaihis salaatu was salaam) instructed us the we should search out his guidance and of the guidance of the rightly guided khulafaa and that we should hold onto that and hold onto it with our molar teeth*. The Arabs mean by this that if you are ardent upon something then you hold it firmly by the hand, if you are unable then hold onto it with your molar teeth - for something which is precious then this is its conduct – that it is to be held firmly by the hand, yet if it is feared for then the hands are aided by gripping it with the molar teeth so that it should not slip away from him.
So it is obligatory that the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allaah (‘alaihi salaatu was salaam) be dear and invaluable with us. His guidance (‘alaihi salaatu was salaam) is better than the world and what is contained within it – as well as being the most valuable thing in existence – it is his guidance (‘alaihis salaatu was salaam) and his methodology and his white path and his clear white way upon which he left us. Its night is like its day, no one deviates from it except that he is destroyed. No one deviates from it except that he is destroyed – in any aspect from the aspects. Whether it is in ‘Aqeedah – if one strays from the methodology of the Messenger then he is destroyed. In worship – if one strays from his guidance then he is destroyed. In politics – if one strays from his guidance (‘alaihis salaatu was salaam) then he is destroyed. No one deviates from it except that he is destroyed.
So our Religion is complete and present. Nothing has been left in life except that the Religion of Allaah has a ruling for it – and a stance regarding it. So whosoever deviates from something from that after the truth has been made clear to him; then his path is one of destruction. Likewise if he turns away from the truth, whilst being able to distinguish between truth and falsehood and so turns down submitting to the truth or searching for the truth; then by Allaah he is indeed upon his path to destruction.
Many are there from the people that pretend not to see – and feign ignorance, whilst it could be that the truth is within the grasp of his hands. However; certain obstacles prevent him, from them is desires and from them is pride and from them is blind following and from them are numerous more things and many factors. The truth may be within the grasp of his hands, in front of his very eyes, yet he folds his hands behind his back and averts his eyes and so turns away from the truth. This is also one who has deviated from the truth, his path is one of destruction – and Allaah’s refuge is sought.
*A reference to the Hadeeth of Al-‘Irbaad ibn Saariyah (radhiyallaahu ‘anhu) who said, ‘The Messenger of Allaah (Sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) admonished us with an admonition. The eyes shed tears due to it the hearts became fearful because of it. So someone said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah! It is as though this is a farewell sermon, so what do you enjoin upon us?’ He said:
((I advise you to have fear of Allaah; and to listen and obey – even if the one who is given command over you is a Habashi slave. For indeed whosoever lives from amongst you after me, then he shall see many differences. So upon you is my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the Rightly-Guided Khulafaa. Hold onto it firmly and bite onto it with your molar teeth and beware of the newly invented affairs. Since every newly invented affair is an innovation, and every innovation is a misguidance.))
Reported by Aboo Dawood 4/200-201 & At-Tirmidhee 5/45 & Ibn Maajah 1/67 & Ahmad in his Musnad 4/126 and others. It was declared Saheeh (authentic) by Shaikh Al-Albaani in his Saheeh Sunan Abee Dawood 3/118-119 Hadeeth 4607. (Translators note)